Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Things that went wrong

1. The palaces of African dictators.

2. Virtual reality in the 1990s. "After Dactyl Nightmare players, convinced they were being carried 20 feet into the air by a killer pterodactyl, fell to the ground, the company installed padded rings around the machines." But that was just a teething problem. PlayStations were worse.

3.  My Dad Tried to Tame a Wolf. The headline tells you just what to expect. "I was afraid of Dusty after the glove incident, but I hadn't learned my lesson. He was so beautiful. The way he howled at the moon was art, and I wanted him to love me like he loved my dad." The people who first domesticated dogs, horses and cows must have been pretty odd too.

4. Greece. But here is an interesting little glimpse into the once (and perhaps future) fightback plan: "Everybody knew what a fight would mean. ... They would "requisition" the Bank of Greece and sack the governor under emergency national laws. The estimated €17bn of reserves still stashed away in various branches of the central bank would be seized. They would issue parallel liquidity and California-style IOUs denominated in euros to keep the banking system afloat, backed by an appeal to the European Court of Justice to throw the other side off balance, all the while asserting Greece's full legal rights as a member of the eurozone. If the creditors forced Grexit, they - not Greece - would be acting illegally, with implications for tort contracts in London, New York and even Frankfurt. ..." Meanwhile, Varoufakis intends to "wear the creditors’ loathing with pride", he says. Wrong but Wromatic? Perhaps, but Piketty says: "When I hear the Germans say that they maintain a very moral stance about debt and strongly believe that debts must be repaid, then I think: what a huge joke! Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations."

5. Possibly America? Here is Charles Murray advocating "massive, systematic civil disobedience" as a cure.

6. Finally I am shoehorning in this, the Ballard of Steinbjørn Jacobsen, which is about a trip that did not really go wrong, although at times it looked as if it might. A Faeroese poet meets the great and good of US academia, and the mini-bar, answering questions about Gawain and the Green Knight with a children's story about a snow-white kitty.

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