this week i

published on the implications of the us government negotiating drug prices

homemade my gif reply to marlene's beautiful photo of herself, moi-même, voyant ta photo sur tinder, puis swipant très violemment vers la droite

enjoyed hannes' inaugural lecture as full professor.  jeopardy taught me wall street originally a dutch construction to repel the invading british

 record keeping predates literature

still today we sit on chairs

hollerith is kind of the last time that intuitive understanding of data is possible

i love how dignified computing was at the time

the data centers dwarf the buildings that are for the humans

sorry i can't have a database talk without some performance numbers

tying ten hedgehogs together and hoping they overtake the rabbit

'm hungry, whatcha gonna do about it?  combed my hair first time in a decade. not sure changed much, but i enjoy the sensation.  drew ewe, ram fam


ate chicken hearts, chatted on icarai beach, ordered diagonally.  jessica gifted me a water ring game.  andrea: best part of niteroi? its views of rio


received a professorial scolding from bald bolsominion na proximo mesa for tying up my hair.  my beer foam mustache as pathetic as my regular one


admit glicerina best restaurant south of chiapas, linguinica not a word.  construction of great pyramid of giza: -2570, tutankhamun dies: -1323, cleopatra dies: -30, present day: 2023, cleopatra's death becomes closer in time to construction of great pyramid of giza than to present day, 2540




(1) consider the hummingbird

their lilliputian beauty

the mojave myth says that at the beginning of human life all people lived in darkness underground.  they dwelled in the earth until a hummingbird, released into the tunnels above them, navigated the narrow twisting passages and led them up into the bright of the day

the french, unflatteringly, called them 
oiseaux mouches, 'bird flies'; in brazil, the smallest were besourinhos, or 'little beetles', and in spanish picaflores, 'flower stingers'

a metabolic rate 77 times faster than our own


(2) a cage went in search of a bird

leopards break into the temple and drink the sacrificial vessels dry; this is repeated over and over; eventually it can be calculated in advance and becomes part of the ceremony

'but then he returned to his work as though nothing had happened.'  we are familiar with this kind of remark from any number of old tales, even though it may not be found in any of them

people often sing the praises of the overall progress of dogdom through the ages

we can't actually believe in what we already know

to avoid a verbal slip-up: anything that should be actively destroyed must first be held quite firmly; what crumbles, crumbles, but cannot be destroyed

kafka's language is extraordinarily plain and lucid - far more so than that of any other modern writer - but still full of mystery..his ascetic method is to leave us to it

 (3) she had one thing darwin didn't: a snorkel

the snorkel has done for coral reefs what the microscope did for bacteria

coral science is now no longer about conservation

skeletons accumulate upwards and outwards..reefs are, in part, the frozen exuberant bouquets of the past

in 1952, us military scientists drilled down through enewetak atoll in the marshall islands, they went through 1400 metres of coral before hitting the basalt base

the deloitte report goes on to employ its brand asset valuator methodology - used by ad agencies since 1992 to assess 'momentum, future potential and resonance' - to quantify the reef's 'total asset value' to australia.  the figure they came up with was us$42 billion.  as the deloitte authors put it, 'with great brand value comes great responsibility'.  in their framing, the reef is equivalent to twelve sydney opera houses


 (4) pakistan is home to over 7,200 glaciers, more than anywhere else outside of polar regions

the world's largest contiguous irrigation system

instead, eyeing greater economic growth for a burgeoning country and supported by international finance institutions such as the world bank and the asian development bank (adb), they built canals between the mountains and the river to coax water into semiarid regions west of the indus and make them forever green

according to the pakistan meteorological department, this august was the wettest on record in sindh and balochistan, with rainfall 726 percent and 590 percent above average, respectively

modern management of rivers - for instance, the vast canal irrigation system that exacerbated flooding in pakistan - has brought about the environmental equivalent of iatrogenic harm

there's a case to be made for ecocide in the hague


(5) every anglo-indian is haunted by a sense of guilt which he usually conceals as best he can

for hours, while the train jolted slowly through the pitch-black night, sitting up in our bunks with bottles of beer handy, we damned the british did us both good.  but we had been speaking forbidden things, and in the haggard morning light when the train crawled into mandalay, we parted as guiltily as any adulterous couple

winston churchill..refused to allow food imports to ease the 1943 bengal famine that killed some three million people

"what india was for england," said hitler, "the territories of russia will be for us"

again and again, people and techniques from one british imperial war were moved across the world to fight senior civil servant who oversaw the black and tans in ireland ended up as the highly repressive governor of bengal during the indian independence struggle


(6) it was the promise of strychnine that kept me glued

first he told people that jane had forced the decision, swayed by friends at the railroad companies in which she held shares.  then he retracted the story and went grovelling back to jane, telling her she was right about ross, who was 'at bottom just a dime novel villain'.  around the same time, as if taking careful aim at his own foot, he published a satire on spiritualist cults, inventing one that claimed to regrow its adherents' teeth - an obvious crack at jane, whose teeth were mostly missing


(7) amartya sen

starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat.  it is not the characteristic of there being not enough food to eat


(8) the uncanny valley between life and death

whale eyeballs

arranged into baroque tableaux and fantastical still-life compositions

embalmed scorpions

"a living forest floor of vanishingly small vessels, capillaries, interconnecting tunnels and loops, a constant chemical seethe."  she connects this understanding to a dutch familiarity with fluid dynamics derived from constructing and maintaining canals, sluices, and locks

ruysch himself compared the most delicate stages of the process to working with cobwebs

both konst (art) and kennis (knowledge)

the inclusion of monstrosities was not prurient or sensationalist but a testament to the pluripotent creativity of divinely inspired nature

jan van neck's portrait the anatomy lesson of dr. frederik ruysch (1683) shows him manipulating a set of calipers to hold open the stomach of an infant cadaver on his operating table as an apprentice cradles a child's skeleton mounted on a wooden pedestal beside him

a combination of anatomically precise annotations and wistful memento mori epitaphs, seasoned with p.t. barnum levels of boosterism and denunciations of his rival anatomists


(9) roald dahl

the notion that a human being could be a brain kept alive in a vat of nutrient juices has been a staple of speculative fiction at least since the 1920s

matilda, who channels rage into telekinesis

he blows dreams through children's windows at night.  he saves sophie, the heroine, from being eaten and, with the aid of the queen (dahl very much wanted a knighthood, and also knew that american audiences would love a scene in which a giant farts in front of british royalty), captures all the nasty giants.  many helicopters are involved, because dahl thought all children love helicopters

(10) winslow homer

a commercial illustrator of the civil war

wavecrests are as sharp as sharks' fins

the outline of a ship can be glimpsed on the horizon, but the man is looking the other way and it doesn't seem likely it will save him

many of his late paintings put the viewer in the crosshairs.  in right and left, a red spot in the grey zone of the horizon turns out to be the flash from a hunter's double-barrelled shotgun aimed at the two massive ducks in mid-flight.  but we, too, are in the line of fire