No Surprises

I was busy with family and work in October, but there’s still time left for a few more of the month’s links.

Read More · 31 October 2018 · Comment · Weblog


Low-maintenance fishpond.


This piece on China’s persecution of its 10 million Uyghurs (via Mefi) is the stuff of nightmares. The surveillance aspect is awful, but so is the transformation of Kashgar described in the second part of the article. Earlier this century the Chinese government was talking with UNESCO about World Heritage status for sites along the Silk Road. I wonder how many they destroyed when obliterating Kashgar’s Old Town.

“If you write thousands of sentences that have absolutely nothing to do with what you think or feel those sentences are still what you will become.”

Farewell, Geoff Emerick, famed producer of Split Enz’s Dizrythmia, and engineer for some sixties band or other.

4 October 2018 · Comment · Weblog

Drokk It

Carlos Ezquerra, who died yesterday, was my favourite 2000 AD artist before I even read 2000 AD. I first encountered him in Starlord back in the late 1970s, where he drew Strontium Dog, Wulf and the Gronk. Nobody visualised the texture of a post-apocalyptic world better than Ezquerra. He did some brilliant turns on The ABC Warriors, too, and on the 2000 AD version of Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat, but is best known as the co-creator of Judge Dredd: Dredd’s uniform, bike, and the look of Mega-City One are all his.

2 October 2018 · Comment · People

Viking Hoards

I’ve been fascinated by these Nordic ancestors since childhood, and through visits to Sweden, Denmark and Iceland as an adult. Here are a few photos from an exhibition we visited at the end of last year, with some friends in Nottingham. If I’d been more on the ball in January I could have posted them before the exhibition finished, but they’re still worth a look.

30 September 2018 · Comment · Travel

Panoramas VIII

My third visit to Sydney in three years meant I could finish off a batch of panoramas of New South Wales, with non-panoramic photos to come, someday.

29 September 2018 · Comment · Travel

It’s a few years since I’ve commented much at Popular, partly because Tom’s reviewing slowed down once he reached 2002. I broke my silence in January, not with a redundant comment about the greatness of “Freak Like Me” (I was away when that came up, and missed the boat), but with a defence of an Elvis/electronica hybrid...

Read More · 27 September 2018 · Comment · Music

Halfway to Boiling

Permafrost may thaw far faster than expected.

Halfway to boiling.

The climate reality few dare mention.

The quietest place in America increasingly isn’t.

How music stopped meaning everything.

Skim reading is the new normal.

Let’s all go back to Tumblr.

A self-solving Rubik’s Cube.

Polarization in Poland.

I will not debate you.

Lonely boy. (Via Mefi.)

Maslow derived his hierarchy from Native American beliefs.

27 September 2018 · Comment · Weblog

I’m so used to Rip-Off Britain that it’s reassuring (sort of) to be reminded that my home country can be a rip-off too, especially since the Australian dollar strengthened against the pound. Books are the worst, and this example I saw at Sydney Airport a few weeks ago was the worst of all:

Rip-off book prices in Australia

On 31 August 2018, £8.99 was worth A$16.07. Even if you add 10% GST (payable on books in Australia, unlike British VAT), that’s still only A$17.68—which makes the Sydney Airport price a markup of 126%. It can’t all be the cost of shipping.

27 September 2018 · Comment · Travel

I was away for a while in August and September, and have had too much going on to be here much. For a while I considered shuttering the site for a bit, but instead I’ve shut down Twitter. I’d become addicted to it, checking for the latest depressing news about Brexit. (None of it’s news any more, really. It’s going to happen, it’s going to happen without a deal, it’s going to be awful, and the names of those who caused it are going to live in infamy.)

Maybe clearing my head of some of that will make room for happier stuff.

27 September 2018 · Comment · Site News

The Whirlyhole

The lost wonders of medieval Britain.

The unfolding catastrophe of Arctic archaeological sites.

Changes in Atlantic circulation could cause global temperatures to surge. Unsurvivable heatwaves could strike the heart of China by 2100. “More carbon has been released into the atmosphere since [1989] than in the entire history of civilization preceding it.” Back to the future.

Read More · 7 August 2018 · Comment · Weblog

I can see why a British populist would name himself after First World War soldiers known for going over the top, but not so much the UK’s biggest-selling brand of squash. He’s less concentrated fruit, more concentrated bull. Tommy Bovril.

6 August 2018 · Comment · Politics

Panoramas VII

Time for another gallery in Detail: more panoramas of the Tasman Peninsula, taken in July 2017. Won’t be the last.

20 July 2018 · Comment · Travel

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