Monthly Archives: May 2016

May books

Non-fiction: 3 (YTD 17) How Loud Can You Burp?, by Glenn Murphy A History of Anthropology, by Thomas Hylland Eriksen and Finn Sievert Nielsen Not the Chilcot Report, by Peter Oborne Fiction (non-sf): 5 (YTD 9) Lila, by Marilynne Robinson … Continue reading

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How Loud Can You Burp? by Glenn Murphy

I'm well behind on book-blogging – a backlog of about 15 books at present. Three consecutive weekends of travel, and then being knocked out by a bug for a couple of days last week, can have that effect. Anyway, getting … Continue reading

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The Voters of MidAmeriCon 2

Last year I posted an analysis of the Sasquan members who lived in the 50 US states, and found that by and large they are in states that vote more liberal than the US median. (I used this ranking from … Continue reading

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Saturday reading

Current Watership Down, by Richard Adams (a chapter a week) The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas The Unicorn Hunt, by Dorothy Dunnett Selected Stories, by Alice Munro Last books finished Quantico by Greg Bear The Last Man, by … Continue reading

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The 1980 Hugo Awards, revisited

The earliest Hugos for which I have been able to find full voting numbers are the 1980 Hugo awards given at Noreascon Two.  The details were release in December 1980, some months after the convention was over, and are available … Continue reading

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Low level harassment

1) For the last few months I've been getting literally thousands of spam comments in Japanese to my LJ. I have screening on for anonymous comments, so the spammers must perform a graphics test before posting the comments, a total … Continue reading

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Whyte by name, white genetically; with Ben Franklin, Bono and Ötzi the Iceman

As a birthday present to myself, I bought a DNA analysis from 23andMe, the company that takes your saliva and tells you who you are descended from. I have been waiting in some suspense for the couple of weeks it … Continue reading

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The French invasion of London 800 years ago

Did you know that most of England accepted the heir to the French throne as its rightful king in 1216-17? The myth that England has not been successfully invaded since 1066 requires a certain amount of special pleading – most … Continue reading

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Saturday reading blog

(Because I’m going to be out all day and won’t have a chance to read before midnight local time) Current Watership Down, by Richard Adams (a chapter a week) The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas Quantico by Greg … Continue reading

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Where Angels Fear, by Rebecca Levene and Simon Winstone

Second paragraph of third chapter: When the first Grel subdued the beasts of the plains and mountains, they gave thanks for their mastery of the paradise that was Grellor. For truly there was never a more beautiful world than this … Continue reading

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Walking on Glass and The Quarry, by Iain Banks

Second sentence of third chapter of Walking on Glass: Probably not. Prevaricating woman. He sighed and set off up the stairs again, pulling himself up by his hands on the thick, frozen rope fixed to the outside of the staircase, … Continue reading

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Heritage, by Dale Smith

Second sentence of third chapter: Back in the good old days, he’d soon learnt that if he left a row of glasses out of the washer for more than five minutes, they’d develop a dry red skin that would have … Continue reading

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The Sundering: Banewreaker and Godslayer, by Jacqueline Carey

Second sentence of third chapter of Banewreaker: It was a deeper green than the beeches Tanaros had known as a boy, the leaves broader, fanning to capture and hold the cloud-filtered sunlight. The trunks of the trees were gnarled in … Continue reading

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A weekend in the north: Kinderdijk, Keukenhof, Leiden, the Hague, Delft, Den Bosch

It was Anne's birthday yesterday, and I had some recent good news at work, so we celebrated by going to the Netherlands for two days with F (U went to respite care). It was a good trip. Kinderdijk Kinderdijk was … Continue reading

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Nebula winners: generation shift

The Nebula winners were announced an hour or so ago: Best Novel: Uprooted, by Naomi Novik Best Novella: Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor Best Novelette: "Our Lady of the Open Road", by Sarah Pinsker Best Short Story: "Hungry Daughters of Starving … Continue reading

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Saturday reading

Current Watership Down, by Richard Adams (a chapter a week) Last books finished Walking on Glass, by Iain Banks Where Angels Fear, by Rebecca Levene and Simon Winstone How Loud Can You Burp?, by Glenn Murphy George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt, … Continue reading

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Welcome to Night Vale in Europe

Any Welcome to Night Vale fans out there planning to go to the live shows this autumn in Paris (3 October), Cologne (7 October), Amsterdam (13 October) or London (22 October)? I will probably go to one of them – … Continue reading

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On abolishing the @CUSUCoordinator

Back in 1989-90, I served as Deputy President (Services) of Cambridge University Student Union. CUSU had only three members of staff, plus a part-time assistant in the shop. My year was the first to have four sabbatical students union officers. … Continue reading

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Short Trips: Monsters, ed. Ian Farrington

Second paragraph of third story (“Last Rites”, by Marc Platt): ‘All remaining passengers are advised that Flight 600386W, the 1830 hours to Sehebra Space Junction, is now boarding at Gate 91. This is the final personnel flight from Epajaenda Resource … Continue reading

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30 Days of Shakespeare: Day 17 – your favourite speech, revisited

Posting yesterday, I forgot of course the one Shakespeare speech we have written in his own hand, from Sir Thomas More, never performed in his lifetime. We are in London in 1517; anti-immigrant riots are about to break out; Thomas … Continue reading

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Mapping Belgium in 1777 and 2016

Belgian local historians are very fortunate from the cartographical point of view: almost all of what became the entire country was mapped in 1777, by Count Joseph de Ferraris, and the results can be consulted online at the Royal Library's … Continue reading

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30 Days of Shakespeare: Day 17 – your favourite speech

Looking back on my posts so far, I realised that of the plays I know well I have yet to post about Julius Caesar. Fortunately this question is a jolly good excuse to turn to that play: Mark Antony’s funeral … Continue reading

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Lila, by Marilynne Robinson

Identifying the second paragraph of the third section (there are no chapters) was not completely straightforward. The various sections are set off with blank lines between them; the third section thus set off has only one paragraph! But the second … Continue reading

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Het Spaanse Spook, by Willy Vandersteen

 Second frame of third page: Wiske: “Lambik! Sh! I heard something!” Lambik: “Probably the guard. You know very well that I don’t believe in ghosts.” First published in 1948-1950, this was the 150th album in the long-running Suske en Wiske … Continue reading

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The moment when the lights went out

The perils of live broadcasting. Mark Devenport and I had agreed that once more than half of the Assembly results were in, we would take off our jackets in the hot studio. But just as Mark Carruthers began to ask … Continue reading

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Saturday Reading

Current Watership Down, by Richard Adams (a chapter a week) Walking on Glass, by Iain Banks How Loud Can You Burp?, by Glenn Murphy Last books finished Lila, by Marilynne Robinson Short Trips: Monsters, ed. Ian Farrington The Quarry, by … Continue reading

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Northern Ireland Assembly Election: It’s all over #ae16

Pausing between flights in Heathrow on my way home, I have time to type up the overall results. Apologies for the slight messiness below, but I think the details are clear. Democratic Unionist Party 38 seats (no change) 202,567 first … Continue reading

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Northern Ireland Assembly election – morning update #ae16

The first preference votes are now in, and over half the 108 seats have now been allocated. There has been no dramatic shift of support from the parties, and at least 11 of the 18 constituencies will return the same … Continue reading

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Gorgon Child, by Steven Barnes

Second paragraph of third chapter: Smoke and chemical fumes belched from the shattered glass windows. Occasionally another pane gave up the ghost; a brief burst of light colored the sky, and fractured crystal rained into the streets below. Sequel to … Continue reading

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Me on TV (and radio) today and tomorrow

The votes in yesterday's election for the Northern Ireland Assembly are being counted today and tomorrow. (Elections here use the Single Transferable Vote, because unlike in England, they have to be fair.) I've already done one stint in radio studios … Continue reading

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