Wednesday 29 March, 2023

Haut Canine

We were having dinner in a nice Copenhagen restaurant one evening in 2022 when the proprietor’s dog decided to sit opposite to keep a friendly eye on these two strangers who had wandered onto his territory.

Quote of the Day

”The mistakes of the great, promulgated along with the discoveries of their genius, are apt to work havoc.”

  • Erwin Schrödinger, in “Nature and the Greeks”.

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Joni Mitchell | California | BBC In Concert, 1970)


Joni playing a dulcimer.

Thanks to Tom Hubbard for the link. And see Commonplace Booklet below for a trip down that particular rabbit hole.

Long Read of the Day


Perceptive essay by Kevin Xu on the RESTRICT Act currently wending its unimpeded way through Congress, and on what it means for Chinese companies hoping to do business in the US.

TL;DR — it’s “game over” for them.

From time to time, I like to read the full text of a legislative bill, if only to put my past work experience at the White House and my law degree to some good use. What caught my attention recently was the RESTRICT Act, which goes after the national security implications of Chinese technologies in the US. It is getting lots of traction in DC, so I read it – all 55-pages of it.

My one-sentence conclusion: if it becomes law, the RESTRICT Act basically spells “game over” for all Chinese technology companies seeking to do business in the US.

RESTRICT stands for Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology. (Never underestimate how much energy Congressional staffers put into a catchy acronym to help pass a bill.) It covers all the potential dangers posed by technologies affiliated with America’s foreign adversaries – namely, the PRC (including Hong Kong and Macau), Russia, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela under Maduro. But everyone knows the bill is squarely aimed at China and, to a much lesser extent, Russia. (No one is concerned about the threat of networking equipment made in Iran or Cuba.)

What’s surprising to me is how extremely comprehensive the technology areas that are covered under this proposal, and how much power this bill gives the executive branch to ban (or restrict) these technologies for national security purposes…

Eerie echoes of the Cold War and CoCom.

Books, etc.

John Gray’s  Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life is great.

My commonplace booklet

On dulcimers, hammered or not

Tom Hubbard took issue with Sheila Hayman’s theory about ‘hammered’ dulcimers.

Ooooh, you’re going to hear from a lot of indignant dulcimer aficionados about your crude description of dulcimer distinctions.

Two very different instruments. Wikipedia can help.

It does. There are hammered ones (i.e. ones you play with hammers) and Appalachian ones, which are three- or four-stringed fretted instruments, generally played on the lap by strumming. (As by Joni Mitchell above).

He also sent a link to a great interpreter of the hammered dulcimer, one John McCutcheon. Here he is.

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