Weblog about culture ca. 1900

The Louis Couperus Society has a very active Dutch weblog about culture from around 1900 CE.

Hallo? Salut!

Reinder introduces me to Numa Numa dancing. I like it. (Yeah, I know I am catching on late. And don’t bring a webcam near me.)

Bad Behavior

I decided to install Bad Behavior to delete spam. Spamming scum, as you know, does not check whether their messages will be published. That takes time, and time is money. So they spam me regardless the fact that not a single one of their tens of thousands of filthy messages has ever been published through this blog.

And since hardly anybody but spammers comments here, the decision to go with Bad Behavior was easily made. This is a heuristic blocker, that may delete genuine comments. Don’t blame me, blame the spammers and your government.

The best thing of course would be to hunt down spammers and kill them. I am afraid that is illegal though. The law is on the side of the spammers. One more thing to keep in mind for upcoming elections.

Gates knows software

A nice annecdote by Joel Spolsky on how one day the big man came in to review something Joel had written.

Red paperclip got a house

Kyle MacDonald, the Montrealais who started trading his way up from a red paperclip to a house a little under a year ago, has managed to reach his goal. He originally traded his red paperclip for a fish shaped pen, and his latest barter was a movie part for a house.

This is an ex-cabinet

Somebody on lefty blog Sargasso.nl made this hope-inspiring prediction: a summer crammed full with football, lots of beer and the resignation of the cabinet. We already had two parts, today the last third came through. Balkellende II is no more. It’s gone to meet its maker. It’s pushing up the daisies. This is an ex-cabinet.

Makes you feel good

The “click” of comprehension triggers a biochemical cascade that rewards the brain with a shot of natural opium-like substances, said Irving Biederman of the University of Southern California. He presents his theory in an invited article in the latest issue of American Scientist.

Johnny Logic via Notional Slurry.

No reviews!

Russia’s industry and energy minister said Friday that Ukraine should be fulfilling the terms of natural-gas deals with Russia rather than trying to revise them.


“The first thing that must be done is to honor the agreements,” the minister said. “Statements about reviewing them can only be made when [the deals] expire.”

(Quoth RIA Novosti on 13:31, 23/06/2006.)

Sigh… politicians!

On the rape of James Joyce by his grandson

Copyright is the right of an heir to destroy our culture. Don’t agree with that? Well, how about if I rephrase this to “inheritance gives an heir the control over an author’s estate, and copyright gives the author control over the works he created”?

According to The Injustice Collector, an article in The New-Yorker of June 12, James Joyce’s grandson Stephen has repeatedly suggested that he would destroy some original James Joyce works. Even if it could be argued that unpublished works are not yet property of the public (after all, that’s what unpublished means: not yet made public), there are many reasons to assume why such a feat would be equally disastrous for published manuscripts. I won’t go into these, as I already talked about them here (PDF). This entry is just about collecting evidence.

(Via mr. Flemming.)

Wells on evolution of mankind

Ends one essay:

Will he go on shrinking, I wonder?–become at last a mere lurking atomy in his own recesses, a kind of hermit crab, the bulk of him a complex mechanism, a thing of rags and tatters and papier-maché, stolen from the earth and the plant-world and his fellow beasts?

And at last may he not disappear altogether, none missing him, and a democracy of honest machinery, neatly clad and loaded up with sound principles of action, walk to and fro in a regenerate world? Thus it was my mind went dreaming in St. George’s Hall. But presently, as I say, came the last word about stomachs, and the bald men woke up, rattled their umbrellas, said it was vastly interesting, and went toddling off home in an ecstasy of advanced Liberalism. And we two returned to the place whence we came.

And begins another:

Of a Book Unwritten

Accomplished literature is all very well in its way, no doubt, but much more fascinating to the contemplative man are the books that have not been written. These latter are no trouble to hold; there are no pages to turn over. One can read them in bed on sleepless nights without a candle. Turning to another topic, primitive man in the works of the descriptive anthropologist is certainly a very entertaining and quaint person, but the man of the future, if we only had the facts, would appeal to us more strongly. Yet where are the books? As Ruskin has said somewhere, à propos of Darwin, it is not what man has been, but what he will be, that should interest us.

Hey, that’s almost as if he’s talking about e-books!

Here. I’ve linked to it before. And before. And beforer.