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Culture shock

Hey, hasn’t it been quiet around here?! Don’t worry, we’re still alive! We’re enjoying summer holidays, Manu is walking and talking, I’m starting a new job in October, all is well.

Today I got accosted in the supermarket by a Greek grandma who tried to convert me to Christianity.

(Continued)

Mysterious benefactors

Presumably in celebration of Manu’s birthday, two beautiful books have turned up in the post: “Slowly, slowly, slowly,” said the sloth and All of baby nose to toes. Both are fantastic! But, we don’t know who sent them…

Whoever you was, thanks to you!

Dripfeed (a niche Python utility)

The last couple of weekends I’ve been working on a little Python side project: dripfeed. This is partly a tool to help me keep my webcomics addiction under control, and partly an excuse to try a bunch of Python tools that I haven’t played with yet.

(What it is and what I learned from it)

A list too long for twitter

The wikipedia page for Hugh Cook’s series Chronicles of an Age of Darkness currently includes the following extraordinary paragraph:

At different times, the novels portray or allude to murder, bestiality, female genital cutting, cannibalism, racism, sexism, speciesism, abortion, masturbation, mutation, incest, inbreeding, constipation, assassination, gambling, drunkenness, brawling, diarrhoea, capitalism, leprosy, castration, slavery, evolution, patricide, regicide, venereal disease, forgery, treason, dwarf tossing, torture, orgies, incontinence, suicide, disembowelment, capital and corporal punishment, drug use, religious fraud, bribery, blackmail, animal cruelty, disfigurement, infanticide, the caste system, democratic revolutionary movements, rape, theft, genocide, transvestitism, premature ejaculation, prostitution, piracy, and polygamy.1

I have too many amazed responses to this, and can’t decide which is funniest. It’s probably best if you just read it aloud to yourself, repeating each item in a tone of astonishment.

Notes:

  1. Every element of the list is linked, except “religious fraud”. []

Lensmen: Space!

Among the many books my parents have been keeping for me (lo these ten years past) I rediscovered a Panther Science Fiction box set of E.E. “Doc” Smith’s 1930s/40s/50s space opera, the Lensman series.

Box set of E.E. "Doc" Smith's "Lensman" series, plus bonus two from his "Skylark" series.

“Lensman” and part of “Skylark”.

(This is not a review, except sidelong by implication.)

Manu’s lifetime record lifetime average speed

Today, after returning from New Zealand, Manu’s lifetime average speed is 6.5km/hr.

That’s likely the highest it will ever reach in his life, unless he’s lucky enough to get off-planet or unlucky enough to become an inter-continental commuter:1 a round trip from Greece to New Zealand is pretty nearly the furthest you can travel on Earth (without making extra loops), and one such trip per year is worth a bit over 4km/hr towards the L.A.S. His average speed is higher than that partly because that’s not the only trip he made this year, but mainly because he’s not even one year old yet.2

According to wikipedia, human walking speed is typically about 5km/hr. This is rather mind-boggling: if Manu had been walking since the day he was born, every hour of every day, he would only just have got to New Zealand and back,3 let alone the other trips inside Greece and to Sweden and The Netherlands that he’s made.

It’s even more impressive given that he only learned to crawl last month.

Notes:

  1. I know a bloke who moved from New Zealand to England, with his family, among other reasons to follow a job prospect. He promptly got work… in Australia. []
  2. He’s travelled 49 thousand kilometres so far, of which 37 thousand are just getting to New Zealand and back. []
  3. Assuming he, rather pointlessly, took the same route from airport to airport that we did. Also assuming some kind of floatation device, I suppose. []

Prisoner’s tales: on the proper form of address

My wife’s parents, Giannis and Elli, are communists. They were imprisoned for their political beliefs during the Greek dictatorship: Giannis for five years, Elli for three. With their permission, I’m collecting here some of the stories they tell about those years. You can find them all filed under “Prisoner’s tales”.

(This one is about the proper form of address for political prisoners)

2013: Year in review

The biggest and best event of 2013

(No resolutions. Some plans.)

Prisoner’s tales

My wife’s parents, Giannis and Elli, are communists. They were imprisoned for their political beliefs during the Greek dictatorship: Giannis for five years, Elli for three. With their permission, I’m collecting here some of the stories they tell about those years.

(These ones are about books, and about pigs and radios)

Mac keyboard layouts

I’ve bitten the bullet and bought a Mac (Macbook Pro, a shiny shiny piece of shininess). The most annoying thing about setting it up as a workhorse was the keyboard layout: Mac standards for accessing characters with diacritics like éïòû are (with a few exceptions) pretty nuts. Here’s my solution (including a layout file for you to download), which I hope may be useful for others. (Please note: I’m trying for something that works comfortably for the languages I use myself. If your needs are different you’ll be able to apply the technique I describe here, but you may have to do more of the work yourself, if my layout doesn’t work for you.)

(Continued)