Sunday 1 October 2017

Odds and ends 011017

  • I bet you thought that nutty separations and exclaves of towns and villages went West when the Berlin Wall went West. But you should consider the case of Dieveniškės which is in the middle of a weird hernia of Lithuanian territory that blurfs into Belarus [prevhilarious] about 100km due West of Minsk. See map above. When Belarus and Baltica were both part of the CCCP/USSR, folk could cross the border unimpeded. The post-soviet republics are much less huggy as this tale of fences and border patrols explains.
  • I was on a jag a couple of years ago putting stuff in order of magnitude of toxity and there mentioned the tragic story of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko Алекса́ндр Ва́льтерович Литвине́нко who was done to death in a London hotel when someone dropped a minute quantity of radioactive Polonium in his tea. I wasn't aware that there was an Irish connexion. The pianist at the same hotel, Derek Conlon, had a cup of tea later the same day and had the misfortune to drink out of the same cup as Litvinenko - after it had been through the dishwasher. Geiger counters were fizzing in the toilet back home and everywhere else he'd been. He's still alive and dining off his near death experience.
  • Dead? What happens if you dump 3 tonnes of dead hawgs in the forest? You get a few vultures and a LOT pf maggots. It's not a million miles from Peter Greenaway's Zed and Two Noughts timelapse - different sequence with Michael Nyman Soundtrack. Happier Michael Nyman soundtrack to Greenaway's Draughtman's Contract.  Jaker's I love Greenaway's films. Almost as much as Jean-Jacques Beineix's Diva . . . "Je n'aime pas les flics"!
  • I've just discovered a young chap, a language geek, called Xidnaf [channel]:
  • Ireland bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup last week. Here's the propaganda.
  • A romp through borders in Asia.
  • Tidying up some loose ends today. I wrote last month about two or three sexual predators who have reached senior positions in the scientific community. I'll here flag that the most recent high-profile case is that of computational linguist Florian Jaeger whose employer the University of Rochester had An inexplicable failure to defend the most vulnerable as Metafilter captured it. It's not black and white especially from this distance.
  • Abuse? My roomie at The Institute has just gotten her Garda Vetting [me, prev] certificate. She had simplified everyone's life by omitting an address she had occupied as a 3 y.o. for 6 months. "Nobody wants to know what explorations I might have done when I was a small child". But, for the first time, it occurred to me Not so!.  Given the data that those who were abused as a child are more likely to grow up abusers, there is a probabilistic reason why The Man might be interested in these early data. OTOH my vetting took about three days to come back approved. It is inconceivable that the Vetting bureau would have checked out all 22 of the addresses, in six different countries, in which I have lived since I was born.

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