Monthly Archives: September 2009

John Cushnahan

I bumped into John Cushnahan this afternoon in the European Parliament, and he raised a perfectly reasonable objection to my description of him in this entry. Entirely fair; I should have written “sometimes acerbic” rather than “somewhat acerbic”, and I … Continue reading

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Before The Screaming Begins trilogy

After reading Wally K. Daly’s untransmitted Doctor Who story, I became curious about his other work – he was a moderately prolific writer of (mostly radio) plays, and I discovered that he had written a science fiction trilogy in the … Continue reading

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Books acquired in September

The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones The Ghost House by Steve ColeThe Time Capsule by Peter Anghelides In Cold Blood by Truman Capote Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones Elizabeth and Essex by Lytton Strachey Elizabeth The Great … Continue reading

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September Books

I’m unlikely to finish any more in the next day (as of this evening I am 100 pages into two 700-page books, 60 pages into one 270-page book). Non-fiction: 7 (YTD 74)          Fiction (non-sf) 7 (YTD 48)         … Continue reading

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September Books 32) Fairyland, by Paul J. McAuley

A 1995 novel of the near future which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award (and I think also the BSFA). It's a pessimistic take on the post-nanotech future, particularly convincing on the relationship between high-tech computing and low-tech field combat … Continue reading

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September Books 31) The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, edited by Richard Dawkins

I’m not a fan of Dawkins’ views on religion, but as editor of this book he has done a fine job; it clearly makes a difference that he is writing about topics he knows and likes, and his introductory pieces … Continue reading

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Linkspam for 28-9-2009

The Titfield Thunderbolt – The DWM Top 200 Meme (tags: doctorwho) Trousers! – Doctor Who: All 200 stories meme (tags: doctorwho) 413 – The McFarthest Place: 145 Mi to the Nearest Big Mac (tags: maps)

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Those German exit polls

CDU/CSU 33.5% (-1.7%) SPD 23.3% (-10.9%) FDP 14.6% (+4.8%) Left 12.9% (+4.2%) Greens 10.2% (+2.1%) Others 5.5% (+1.5%) Looks like the Christian Democrats and FDP will have a clear majority, although this is the worst result for the CDU/CSU since … Continue reading

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September Books 29) The Time Capsule, by Peter Anghelides; 30) The Ghost House, by Steve Cole

Two very good audiobooks read by Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. In The Time Capsule, the team find their work experience disrupted by time-travelling aliens; The Ghost House has a similar problem but in the house down the road. … Continue reading

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September Books 28) Strip Jack, by Ian Rankin

The fourth of the Rebus detective books, an engaging read about an MP who is caught in a brothel, and the relationships between him and his schoolfriends which run out of control; there is also a very charming institutionalised psychopath, … Continue reading

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September Books 18-27) Doctor Who: the Darksmith Legacy

What with there not being much televised Who this year, the BBC have partially filled the gap with this series of books for younger readers, the first of which was published in January and the tenth and final one last … Continue reading

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Super-connectors

I enjoy social networks. Finding connections with people I’ve met is a small hobby in itself. I have 441 livejournal contacts (ie those who are reading me rather than vice versa), 1010 on LinkedIn, 1456 on Facebook; basically people whose … Continue reading

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Gibbon IV

Chapter IV: The cruelty, follies and murder of Commodus [with added Pertinax] This chapter is about 70% Commodus and 30% Pertinax; the former reigned for 13 years and the latter less than three months. Though from what Gibbon says, Pertinax … Continue reading

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The DWM top 200

Doctor Who monthly’s latest issue publishes the results of a reader poll of all 200 Doctor Who stories to date, ranked in order of popularity. (The article also includes scores for the two Dalek films and other ephemera, but never … Continue reading

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September Books 17) Diplomacy, by Henry Kissinger

This is a somewhat frustrating book. The opening chapters, based apparently on the author’s PhD thesis about diplomacy in the nineteenth century, are pretty dull, even soporific. But once Kissinger gets to the twentieth century, it all gets rather exciting … Continue reading

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September Books 16) Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

It is over 25 years since I last read this book; it was one of our set texts for Eng Lit O-level, so I remembered it as a source of material for essay-writing rather than as an actual reading pleasure. … Continue reading

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Linkspam for 24-9-2009

What’s wrong with the Irish Greens | David Cronin | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk (tags: ireland eu climatechange) The Associated Press: EU nations fail to agree on bluefin tuna ban Disgraceful. (tags: fish) Rid Europe of "tac nukes" | … Continue reading

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September Books 15) Zeta Major, by Simon Messingham

The Fifth Doctor novels have rather a good strike rate for me (the audios even more so). This confirmed the trend: a sequel to the Fourth Doctor’s TV story Planet of Evil, with the Morestran empire, centuries later, destroying itself … Continue reading

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Presidential trivia question

Apparently Nixon hung portraits of Eisenhower and Woodrow Wilson in the Oval Office. Is there any information available as to which portraits were chosen by other presidents? (My bet on the current one and his predecessor would be Kennedy/Lincoln, and … Continue reading

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CD&V – not getting my vote

We got a bulletin from CD&V, the prime minister’s political party, through the door yesterday. This was supposedly targeted at the needs of our small village (where the party’s national chairman happens to be a resident). Now, I am rather … Continue reading

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Linkspam for 23-9-2009

http://www.cyprus-mail.com/news/main.php?id=47884&cat_id=1 "At this point the challenge is how to go about flushing out the Cyprus moon rock" (tags: cyprus space) doctorwho: Trivia fact: If you decided to sit down and watch the complete canonical Whoniverse in one sitting without toilet … Continue reading

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Consecutive integers with the same number of factors

The numbers 2 and 3 are both prime, so both have two factors, themselves and 1. 2 3 1 1 While there are no other examples of consecutive primes, it’s not difficult to find more pairs of consecutive integers with … Continue reading

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Lovely

Well, it seems that I am a former member of an infamous Soros witch conclave. Who knew?

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Belfast: The Soviet connection

Clifton Park Avenue is now an uncomfortable interface route between the Crumlin Road and the Cliftonville areas of North Belfast. A hundred years ago, it was one of the more Jewish parts of the city (which is not saying much, … Continue reading

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September Books 14) Appleseed, by John Clute

The writing style was entertaining, but I regret to say that I could not follow the plot at all.

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Gibbon III

Gibbon Chapter III: Of the Constitution of the Roman Empire in the Age of the Antonines This is the most enjoyable chapter so far, and also the most political and the most overtly tied to current (ie 18th-century) affairs. (tags: … Continue reading

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September Books 13) Ireland in the Age of the Tudors, by R[obin] Dudley Edwards

I am cranking up my reading on sixteenth-century Ireland, and decided to go back to basics. This is essentially a narrative survey, based on exhaustive sampling of the surviving primary sources, of what happened politically in Ireland from the death … Continue reading

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Missile defence

I have always boggled at the fact that anyone could see any merits in the proposed US ballistic missile defence system. The more I looked into it, the more convinced I became that it was a technology that would never … Continue reading

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Lisbon again

Back in February last year, I wrote a post on the Lisbon Treaty, outlining my view that it is basically a shuffling of the institutional architecture which has little impact on the average EU citizen. Since then, the Irish people … Continue reading

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Linkspam for 17-9-2009

The Lost Symbol and The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown’s 20 worst sentences – Telegraph Spoilt for choice, really! (tags: sf)

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