Sir Peter's taste for swan

Speaking of Scotland: I came across a reference to Udal law and feudal tenure in Scotland in an article in the University of Edinburgh Journal. This led me to this rather amusing article about Sir Peter's alleged felony to partake of the remains of a deceased swan (Monty Python, anyone?). I guess I'll never know whether Sir Peter actually did time in the Tower, but it certainly was enlightening to read about it. 

Exit Music

So then, this is it, allegedly - the last in the Inspector Rebus series. I am presently struggling with myself whether or not I should reveal any spoilers, since it doesn't really matter anymore. But then again, it does, so I won't. Suffice it to say that I am sad to see him go as he kept my relationship to Edinburgh alive - not that I'd had any to its underworld, mind you. I wonder whether Rankin will do a Reichenbach twist some time, or whether we will treated to a different angle maybe? But until then, let's give Rebus some space.


Playing around

Who the heck needs Photoshop when they can have Gimp (the free GNU Image Manipulation Program)? 

Granted, it takes a bit of getting used to when you use X11 for the first time, especially since it needed a bit of tweaking to run under Leopard, but everything seems to run just fine now. 


My phone

To my considerable regret and shame, I have to notify the world (or at least those parts that care), that I have resolved to change my mobile phone. From the introduction, you can safely deduct that my new phone is not an iPhone, at least not yet. I have reverted from the broken Nokia to an ancient Sony Ericsson T610. Amazingly, the difference in features& usability  between the T610 and the rather current 6280 is not as big as the T610's age would suggest. But you don't care about that, do you.

The reason why I didn't get an iPhone to hack was that I couldn't get my mitts on a $ priced item. The € priced ones are just not attractive enough, given the fact that firmware 1.1.2 is still tough to deal with. Then the French unlocked version is just priced to kill, especially considering hoping that there will be an updated version available for the Swiss market early next year. Yes, I know, hope springs eternal ...


London action

My recent short trip to London is already history, but I haven't recorded its proceedings for posterity, yet. So, here goes nothing ...

Seeing how the tickets for The First Emperor are sold out weeks in advance, I didn't expect to get one on the day, especially as I didn't exactly show up at 0900. But surprisingly, there were still some left! Thus I made sure to succumb to the current craze about everything Chinese. The exhibition is rather small, but very packed. What's most fascinating about it is what you don't get, i.e. the first emperor himself, who probably still rests undisturbed in his colossal monument to vanity.  

The other exhibition I saw deals with far more contemporary issues: Breaking the Rules in the British Library has for subject the highly creative period in European art before WWII. Unfortunately, this extraordinarily interesting period has been overwhelmed almost entirely by subsequent events and is hardly accessible to us anymore. It's a pity! The exhibition demonstrates in great detail how the movements of that period were not only relevant in places like Paris, Berlin and London, but also in more remote corners such as Belgrade or Wroçlav. Talk about globalisation. 

The night before that exhibition expedition, I indulged myself in some truly seasonal Musicke, i.e. Händel's Messiah with The Sixteen at the Barbican. While the execution was certainly flawless, and the Sixteen actually numbered eighteen, the evening somehow wasn't as exciting for me as it usually is. Sure, the hall rose to their feet during the Hallelujah (an endearingly insular habit), and there was much clapping at the end. Still - maybe it was just insufficient accoustic pressure due to the somewhat remote seating I got. 


Seeing Red

It is an exceptionally slim book, and a beautifully made one, too. But despite of its tiny format, its ambition is quite monumental: Seeing Red proposes a non-technical operational model of consciousness. Humphrey answers Joe King's emailed question: "Hello, my name is Joe King. I am severly disabled, 20 years old. I am 33 inches tall, 40 lbs, 47 broken bones and 6 surgeries. I have been concerned lately that when I die this crippled body might be all I have. My question is. Do u believe consciousness can survive the death of the brain? Is there good scientific evidence for this?" I am not going to be a spoilsport, but suffice it to say that Humphrey's answer is sufficiently clear.



There are not many smart commercials of which you will remember what they actually advertise. This is one of them - enjoy!


Quantum astronomy kills the cat!

Fascinating story, that! The naïve reader might even be forgiven for being reminded of the tree of knowledge and other biblical metaphores ...

Fear, engagement, transcendence

On a US trip a few years back, I read a text about Abraham Lincoln's clinical depression. This text occasionally still resonates today with me because of its empathetic description of a complex man who paradoxically depended on his clinical condition for superhuman strength. The article was published in The Atlantic, and it is now available online.