November 2020

  • First the Pestilence, Now the Fire

    Two weeks ago, we woke up to bedlam, a cacophony of emergency alerts. And then, not long afterwards, notification that schools were being evacuated, and then being told to evacuate the house. A mad fumbling. Clothes stuffed into bags, a lunge for precious photo albums and hard drives. Annoyed confused children ushered out to face a sepia-tinted sky, hot Santa Ana winds, the awful charcoal air.   What is there on the horizon is not a sunrise…  

  • “What South Korea’s Candlelight Revolution Tells Us About Defeating a Right-Wing Autocrat” In 1987, the Italian leftist Lucio Magri observed: “The true paradox of this century is that movements that criticized liberal constitutions often defended their formal elements more effectively, and with greater sacrifices, than did the most convinced apologists for those constitutions.”

  • Links and Thinks 20201112

    (from 20201012) 1) In 1989, USC Had a Depth Chart of a Dozen Linebackers. Five Have Died, Each Before Age 50 Playing football is like voluntarily getting into a car accident. Multiple car accidents. 2) Johnny Rotten is supporting Trump… uggh… Is his support for Trump idiotic? Yes. Is he a big political influencer in the swing states, this old real-estate punk? Of course not. The anger comes from wanting your heroes to be uncomplicatedly pure for ever, which is a peculiar demand to make of anyone. 3) Clara-Jumi Kang (Piazzolla, Four Seasons

  • “Murderous Tear Gas”

    A good article on the ubiquitous use of tear gas in South Korea – an ever-presence in Seoul in the Eighties. I remember reading at the time that some countries (I believe, the Philippines) refused to buy it from South Korea, stating that it was “an inhuman product.” Even before the mass protests in June 1987, which brought millions into the streets, knowledge of the police use of tear gas had spread widely among the population. Just as citizens had their own verbiage for the white helmet-clad riot police, which they called the “White Skull Corps,” people also

  • CRISPR Nobel Prize

    Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020. 1) Press release from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. As so often in science, the discovery of these genetic scissors was unexpected. During Emmanuelle Charpentier’s studies of Streptococcus pyogenes, one of the bacteria that cause the most harm to humanity, she discovered a previously unknown molecule, tracrRNA. Her work showed that tracrRNA is part of bacteria’s ancient immune system, CRISPR/Cas, that disarms viruses by cleaving their DNA. 2) Recent update on the status of the patent dispute with the Broad

  • What I’m Reading: Paul Scott’s *Raj Quartet*

    From Jewel in the Crown (Part Six – Civil and Military) He’s also said he’ll leave — but stayed put — long enough to create factions below stairs among the people who hope to inherit or rather get the house back. He hasn’t necessarily intended to create these factions, but their existence does seem to suit his book. Deny people something they want, over a longish period, and they naturally start disagreeing about precisely what it is they do want. So he likes nothing better than to give private interviews to deputations from these

  • Tech Note to Self

    1) Apple Mail to Reminders Note to self – drag an email from Mac to Reminders app to get a link to the specific email. It indents to previous reminder – but can right-click to outdent it. HOWEVER, if you drag a CONVERSATION, only the title of email will copy over (not the link to specific email). 2) command-k for links in Markdown Why did I not know about this? 3) command-enter in Tweetbot To send tweet.