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Bilbao

Eighteen months ago I spent a few days in Bilbao with my brother, enjoying its fine food, beverages and art. It was my second time in the Basque Country, after an unplanned visit to Donostia/San Sebastián in 2010, and it felt even more of a place apart from Castilian Spain, not least because the weather was cool and overcast, and the surrounding hills were a different shade of green than those down south. I saw some separatist stickers here and there, and a lot of Basque flags.

In between stops in bars and cafés we took in the Guggenheim and the local history museum, and while my brother was off on business I also visited the museums of archaeology and fine art. It was a great weekend, which I memorialised at the time in a limerick, and now at long last I’ve added a gallery at Detail to go with the panoramas I posted of it last year. Gozatu!

29 May 2019 · Travel

Venice

The kids’ February school holidays are an ideal opportunity to steal away for a city break, and this year there was every incentive to get over to the continent before Brexit threw everything into chaos (or didn’t, as it turned out, but at the start of the year it sure looked as if it would). I was surprised to find some good deals on flights and hotels to a city I’d long wanted to see, but which had always looked expensive, so grabbed the chance to go. A few weeks later we were on the plane to Venice.

Read More · 29 May 2019 · Travel

Chch

Two months ago I gathered a handful of links to mark the massacre in Christchurch, but couldn’t collect my thoughts sufficiently to post them here. The city has been one of my favourite places ever since J. and I lived there for a few months in 1997, and as often happens with awful events in places I love, I found it hard to disentangle the events from my memories of the place.

Read More · 28 May 2019 · Events

Building Blocks

Western Europe’s tallest skyscraper will be visible from 60km away, unimpeded by much in the way of other buildings, because it’s going to be in the middle of the Danish countryside. Elsewhere in the land of Lego, buildings grow from fjords, resemble icebergs, recycle, out-lean Pisa, get wavey, look spiky, express themselves, and capture clouds. Danish architecture is on the rise: today, Copenhagen; yesterday, and tomorrow, the world.

Read More · 28 May 2019 · 1 Comment · Art

The End of May

The European Elections are out of the way, and soon Theresa May will be as well.

Read More · 27 May 2019 · Politics

Pink Mist

Music consumption has unintended economic and environmental costs.

A new kind of metasurface uses the sun to clear foggy screens.

The pink lakes of Australia.

A hundred years of climate anomalies in thirty seconds.

How much ice has Greenland lost to climate change?

The Guardian changes the language it uses about the climate.

A new piece of climate change SF by Paolo Bacigalupi.

Ian McEwan displays his ignorance of SF while promoting his own. Sad.

“Violent attacks are winning, and infections are unchecked.”

Read More · 27 May 2019 · Weblog

The Silver Bodgie

The BBC reported yesterday that Australians will remember Bob Hawke for breaking a beer-drinking record and being a good bloke, which was a pretty feeble eulogy. Australians will remember him for a bloody sight more than that.

Read More · 17 May 2019 · People

Marking Time

Marking season is always hard, and this blog always suffers during it, because posting here when I should be marking looks bad—not that avoiding posting here makes things any easier. This year it’s been unexpectedly extended by the death of my home computer’s hard drive, in painful stages over about five days. I’ve had some serious incidents with computers before, but nothing that posed such an existential threat to thirty years of accumulated computer files. Fortunately, I had a current back-up, which I’m now handling with extreme care, and have backed up in turn. The iMac should return with a new SSD and hard drive next week, and things can get back to normal.

Which all meant that I lost a week of marking time, and am now scrambling to catch up. But something happened yesterday which prompted a dashed-off comment elsewhere that I want to add here as well, so I’m going to pause for a moment to post it before getting back to the feedback forms. Other backlogged post plans still have to wait.

17 May 2019 · Journal

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