Wednesday 10 August, 2022

The UK’s very own Puzzle Palace

One of the rooms in (I think) Hut 6 in Bletchley Park, restored to its wartime condition. It was taken on a visit just before the restoration was completed. As an incurable pen geek, I was pleased to see that the mechanical pencils on some of the code-breakers’ desks were authentic for the period!

Quote of the Day

“Despite Conservative Party HQ’s best efforts to keep its membership data private, this much has been established by academics at the Party Members Project: Tory members are 96 per cent white, 66 per cent male, 68 per cent over 50 and about 15 per cent more likely than average to earn over £50,000 a year.”

  • Tortoise Media

This is the 160,000-strong ‘electorate’ that is currently busy choosing the UK’s next Prime Minister. If you wanted a token of the country’s ramshackle ‘constitution’ this would be hard to beat, though the US Republican party’s antics in the US run it a close second.

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Hard Times Come Again No More | the Chieftains and Paolo Nutini


Impossible to count how many versions I’ve heard of this Stephen Foster song. On balance, though, I still prefer Thomas Hampson’s rendition.

Long Read of the Day

 Apropos Marshal McLuhan…

I don’t usually use this section to push my own stuff, but I was so intrigued by Ezra Klein’s essay (yesterday’s Long Read) that I dug out the text of a lecture on McLuhan I gave in the University of Copenhagen years ago in which I argued that, if anything, his media critique was more relevant to our networked ecosystem than it was to the TV-dominated one that he focussed on.

If you’re interested you can find the lecture, “Why the medium really is the message”, here

My commonplace booklet

Hertz says that its Tesla fleet of rental EVs are 50 per cent cheaper to maintain than fossil fuel cars.

Stands to reason — they don’t have complicated engines that provide motive power from a continuous series of controlled explosions. (That’s not to say that the way the auto industry managed to refine those explosions wasn’t a triumph of human ingenuity, but…).

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