Category Archives: Knowledge

Posts with informational content (history, science, culture etc.).

On Niche Annoyances and Traffic Circle Fountains

My favourite crossword blogger, Rex Parker, recently went on a rant about how crossword puzzles depicted in film and television are often completely spurious. Fictitious grids are written into scripts and rarely respect the rules of crossword or clue construction. … Continue reading

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Two Scintillae (regarding three Italian girls, a Japanese monk, and the nature of enlightenment)

This afternoon on the corner of Bermondsey Street I saw three Italian girls, all looking at maps on their phones. Each was turning her phone to orientate the map better to the street, but at the same time, the phone … Continue reading

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In ancient Roman households

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My clocks is wrong

PH was staying with his daughter when he remarked she should, ‘Get a decent telly — one where the sound and programme are synchronised.’ He wandered through into the kitchen to make a cup of tea, and looking up at … Continue reading

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Contemplations of the Rat

Lab rats contemplating alternately Fermi’s Paradox and the Pauli Exclusion Principle (click images to enlarge) Fermi’s Paradox: Given the vast size and age of the universe (the sheer number of stars, amount of matter, and how long it’s all been … Continue reading

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Did I Say The Wrong Thing?

It’s hard not to admire a good simile. They make literature more evocative: ‘Elderly American ladies leaning on their canes listed toward me like towers of Pisa.’ (Nabakov from Lolita.) They add venom to political bite: ‘He looks like a … Continue reading

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“I like the way you move,” whispered London to Tokyo
. “Yeah right,” Tokyo shot back.

Speech delivered at the House of Lords, London, 16 October 2012, for Vision The trouble is, cities don’t whisper to each other about liking each other’s moves. Quite the opposite — they complain incessantly about congestion. They complain about how … Continue reading

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How Cognitive Illusions Can Make You A Better Dancer

The beautiful thing about Daniel Margulies & Chris Sharp’s “Untitled”, which shows a brain listening to the Rite of Spring (see recent post), is the way the movements of Stravinsky’s music, and the floods of purling colours, seem to harmonise … Continue reading

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Khamsin Coming: Arab Spring to London Bloom

The seriousness of the recent riots across England has inspired a period of serious reflection. The search for the reasons why has looked instinctively to deep-level problems, with heavy-faced politicians and commentators alike theorising over social deprivation, financial exclusion, latent … Continue reading

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On Miró, or, On Us On Miró

There’s a big Miró retrospective on at the Tate at the moment. It’s a fun exhibition, and clearly popular with kids. The paintings are arranged chronologically. The first room and a half works through the typical progression of a young … Continue reading

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