Notts Landing

The gallery-building has had to go on the back-burner for a while, but a few weeks ago I managed to put together a small selection of photos of a city we’ve visited off and on since moving to the UK, thanks to having some friends there. Most of my photos from Nottingham are of them and their home and garden, but a handful capture the city and surrounding Nottinghamshire, although when I look at them now they’re all pretty overcast and significantly lacking in sheriffs. Our friends moved a few years ago, so I’m not sure when or if we’ll be back, but in case not, here’s a reminder to myself.


28 March 2022 · Memory

History Lessons

The PowerPoint slide that killed seven people (Mefi).

How Janet Sobel was written out of art history.

Dismayed to learn that the late William Hurt was another wrong ’un? Philosophy might help.

Eighteenth-century paintings of mushroom clouds.

What David Graeber left behind.

Why commercials are coming to the biggest streamers. We’ve reached peak subscription.

Charlie Brooker’s How TV Ruined Your Life, episode 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

How to become remarkably successful. Worth a shot.

Read more…

26 March 2022 · Events

The Fog of War

Has Russia’s invasion stalled? Or is the war just beginning?

“The TV is winning.”

“We’re living a nightmare.”

A century of Russian colonialism.

Arrested for holding up a blank sheet of paper.

The attack on Zaporizhzhia was more dangerous than first thought.

Debunking Russian claims of bioweapons labs.

Archivists scan documents around the clock for fear of “archivocide”.

Putin has already deployed a chemical weapon—in Salisbury.

Zelensky warned us.

Read more…

15 March 2022 · Events

What Has Been Lost

The Tongan resort destroyed for the third time.

The con that tricked dozens into working for a fake design agency.

The a-ha moment that drove electric car sales in Norway.

Using an ecological model to estimate the number of lost mediaeval manuscripts.

Britain, things could actually be good.

10 March 2022 · Weblog

Everything Smells Burnt

Our family has been part of the ONS Covid survey for a year, and I’ve been answering that I don’t think I have any symptoms of Long Covid from my Delta infection in September. But I may have to change my answer next time. Everything smells burnt, as if I’m smelling smoke; not cigarette smoke filtering up from the neighbours downstairs, but sooty smoke, like from a campfire or a fireplace. At first I wondered if it was from sitting on the couch in front of our old blocked-up chimney; but I went in to the office for the first time in a month yesterday, and smelled it there too. So, that’s new. I’m pretty sure I got Omicron at Christmas; my PCR test was negative, but one of my LFTs showed a very faint test line—faint enough not to be sure if it was a trick of the eye. I was slightly under the weather for a few days, so it seems possible. Repeated exposure seems to raise the risk of Long Covid, and its different features can come on at different times. All I can hope is that being vaccinated up to the hilt keeps them at bay.

The signs of a new and stronger variant from Hong Kong and South Korea are ominous, and cases are going up here as well, in the face of—or partly because of—the relaxation of restrictions. Mask-wearing is still required in shops in Scotland, although that’s set to change. Covid has disappeared from the news in the past fortnight, totally supplanted by Ukraine; but it feels as if the pandemic is far from over, and that we’re in a period of collective wishful thinking.

10 March 2022 · Events

Nightmare Fuel Rods

Last Wednesday was the wrong night to wake up at one a.m. and habitually check Twitter. Realising that the Russian army had started shelling the largest nuclear power plant in Europe wasn’t exactly conducive to sleep. Thoughts of Chernobyl had already been at the back of my mind during the first week of the war, even before the Russians took that notorious site over, but Zaporizhzhia seemed an even better candidate for “accidentally” turning into a giant dirty bomb. Just the fact of Russia attacking either is reason to worry very, very much.

Read more…

10 March 2022 · Events

In the Mud

The situation in Mariupol on the coast of southern Ukraine is desperate, with water supplies cut after days of Russian bombardment. But further north, there may be cause for hope. A Russian thermobaric bomb launcher got captured by Ukrainians because “it tried to go off-roading … in springtime”, when the ground hasn’t frozen as usual this winter. Meanwhile, poor Russian Army truck maintenance practices implied by a photo of a gun-missile system’s right rear pair of tyres have significant implications for Russia:

When you leave military truck tires in one place for months on end … the side walls get rotted/brittle such that using low tire pressure setting for any appreciable distance will cause the tires to fail catastrophically via rips. … The Russians simply cannot risk them off road during the Rasputitsa/Mud season. … Given the demonstrated levels of corruption in truck maintenance … their wheeled AFV/truck park is as road bound as Russian Army columns were in the 1st Russo-Finnish War.

Read more…

3 March 2022 · Events

Crushing Thoughts

This war is likely to be long-lasting. But the most important issue has already been decided.

Russian warship, Иди Hаxуй.

The information war.

Putin has overestimated his ability to win a propaganda war.

Debunking a staged “provocation” in the Donbas.

What Russian nationalists think about the invasion.

Analysts overrate the Russian army, underrate Ukraine’s, and misunderstand Russian strategy and goals.

We’re already in World War III. We have been for some time.

Read more…

2 March 2022 · Events

←February 2022