Monthly Archives: February 2012

paw/pour/poor poll

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February Books

Non-fiction 3 (YTD 14)The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de WaalThe World of Washington Irving, by Van Wyck BrooksMy Traitor's Heart, by Rian Malan Fiction (other than sf) 2 (YTD 4)Let The Great World Spin, by Colum McCannThe Absolutely … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 29-02-2012

Charlotte Brontë manuscript found in Belgian museum French homework found in Charleroi(tags: bronte belgium )

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“Mustard keen”

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Cambridge architecture question

Anyone recognise this room? Found on Flickr here. The low ceiling and position of the window make me feel that it must be on an upper floor. I have vague memories of an upper hall a bit like that at … Continue reading

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February Books 19) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

A rather poignant YA novel, based apparently rather closely on the writer’s own life, about growing up in a reservation wracked by poverty and alcoholism in Washington state, and his attempts to fit in at the nearby white high school. … Continue reading

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Northern Ireland: St Columb’s cathedral is not in Belfast

I was startled to read this headline and story in the Belfast Telegraph: St Columb’s Cathedral is not in Belfast but over 100 km away in Derry! Or perhaps Northern Ireland’s geography has changed since I was last there?

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February Books 18) The Sontaran Games, by Jacqueline Rayner

One of the very short “quick reads” novels, less than 100 pages, with the Tenth Doctor investigating mysterious deaths at an athletics training camp which has become the latest front in the Sontaran/Rutan war. Surprisingly high death toll among the … Continue reading

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Scotland and Ireland in the British Parliament

In the event that Scotland votes for independence in a referendum, what will happen to Scottish representatives at Westminster? When Montenegro declared independence 13 days after its 2006 referendum, the Serbia-Montenegro joint parliament consisted only on members appointed by the … Continue reading

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February Books 17) The Taking of Planet 5, by Simon Bucher-Jones and Mark Clapham

Another Eighth Doctor Adventure which involves the Fendahl, the Cthulhu mythos, and the future beings into which Time Lords will evolve, but which is less than the sum of its parts. I hope that this series picks up soon; I've … Continue reading

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February Books 16) My Traitor’s Heart, by Rian Malan

A truly powerful memoir, partly telling Malan’s own story as a lefty journalist of hardline Afrikaner stock, and partly also an introduction to the dialect and grammar of South African political violence, particularly of the 1980s (the book came out … Continue reading

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February Books 15) Year’s Best SF 24, ed. Gardner Dozois

I used to get the Dozois anthology every year and read it immediately, but this habit faded out a few years back, so I am now reading his 2007 collection of the best stories of 2006 for the first time. … Continue reading

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Hyperdrive

I’ve been entertaining myself o the commute for the last couple of weeks with episodes of the mid-noughties BBC sf sitcom Hyperdrive, which managed two series of six episodes in 2006 and 2007. The only core cast member who I … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 24-02-2012

The Death of a Traitor the grisly fate of Hugh Despenser the younger(tags: archaeology ) BBC: 49% of British homes get less than the national average Broadband speed. – bengoldacre – secondary blog “Don’t ever rest, not until more than … Continue reading

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The #ACTA referral

I've been following the online debate about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) with some confusion. I am automatically distrustful of senior officials who tell us that everything is going to be all right; and I have noted with dismay some … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 23-02-2012

Douze points for freedom Petition for release of political prisoners in Azerbaijan(tags: azerbaijan ) European parliament should be abolished, says Jack Straw Straw’s mask slips; much better if EU run by chaps like him without any scrutiny.(tags: eu ) Straw … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 22-02-2012

What NOT to do when relaunching NI Conservatives… | Ian James Parsley They will never learn!(tags: northernireland ) How to Remove Your Google Search History Before Google’s New Privacy Policy Takes Effect | Electronic Frontier Foundation …in a few easy … Continue reading

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Nebula nominees

Here are the novels on this year's Nebula shortlist, ranked by owners on Librarything and Goodreads, with Amazon sales rank thrown in. Librarything Goodreads Amazon owned score owned score paper Kindle Embassytown, by China Miéville 767 3.96 2427 3.86 17544 … Continue reading

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February Books 14) The Islanders, by Christopher Priest

I’m on a steady upward track with the BSFA nominees. Though presented as a gazetteer of islands in the Dream Archipelago, where time swirls and nomenclature is unstable, there is actually a story, or several stories, here, dotted across the … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 20-02-2012

Towards a win-win situation – Cyprus Mail Former foreign minister Nicos Rolandis (as usual) speaks sense; (as usual) nobody will listen.(tags: cyprus ) jemck: On piracy and copyright and file sharing and free speech “How is the current situation when … Continue reading

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February Books 13) Blood Harvest, by Terrance Dicks

This was one of the first New Adventures that I read, back in 2006, but I’m glad that I stuck to my decision to include it as I read the series in order. It is slightly better than I remembered; … Continue reading

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February Books 12) Snuff, by Terry Pratchett

Latest of the Vimes sub-series of Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett; once again, as in Thud, he takes Vimes out of Ankh-Morpork and the story is the better for it. I really enjoyed the combination of toilet humour (because poo … Continue reading

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Interesting Links for 19-02-2012

Nevil Shute weekend at White Waltham in May From the January 2012 Nevil Shute newsletter.(tags: sf ) Obama, Facebook and the power of friendship: the 2012 data election | World news | guardian.co.uk I wonder if this is replicable elsewhere? … Continue reading

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BSFA short stories: my ballot

Long plane flights and short stories often work quite well in combination for me, and I used the last week's travels, among other things, to read through the BSFA shortlist. I should say that I ranked my choices before then … Continue reading

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February Books 11) The Eleventh Tiger, by David A. McIntee

This isn’t quite the last First Doctor novel for me to read, in that I started (but could not bear to finish) The Plotters a couple of years back. But until the BBC decides to licence another First Doctor story, … Continue reading

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February Books 10) By Light Alone, by Adam Roberts

Next up in my reading of the BSFA nominees, and again I like this one more than the one I have already read; In By Light Alone, humanity has become universally able to photosynthesise enough energy to stay alive through … Continue reading

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February Books 9) Touched By An Angel, by Jonathan Morris

I’ve already quoted the Belgian line from this Eleventh Doctor novel, which is yet another story of car crashes and mixed-up timelines (I have lost count of how often this has come up in New Who but it’s at least … Continue reading

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The Social Graph

Fascinating to play with Gephi to get this lovely image of the network of my Facebook friends: (Click to embiggen) Apart from the two outliers of recent Cambridge sabbaticals and friends from the 1980s International Astronomical Youth Camps, it’s quite … Continue reading

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Eastercon: I will be there; will you?

I decided soon after moving to Belgium that the only reason to fly rather than take Eurostar to London would be to attend an event which was actually taking place at one of the airports. But as it happens, Olympus … Continue reading

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February Books 8) Let The Great World Spin, by Colum McCann

A novel following an assortment of characters through their lives in New York over a period in August 1974, when they are linked by a fatal car accident and the experience of watching a man walk a tightrope strung between … Continue reading

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