To take one tiny example, we trumpet figures such as last week’s growth in GDP as if we didn’t know that Irish GDP figures are up there with Ulysses as our greatest work of fiction
Fintan O'Toole in the Irish Times
Compare and contrast with May's vile kowtowing.
Merkel made by far the most dignified response I have seen to Trump’s election. “Germany and America,” she said, “are tied by values of democracy, freedom and respect for the law and human dignity, independent of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views. I offer the next president of the United States, Donald Trump, close cooperation on the basis of these values.” Magnificent.
'In Flann O’Brien’s parodic novel The Poor Mouththere is a map of the world as seen by poor Gaelic peasants. It comes with a compass marking the four directions: west, west, west and west. This compass might also serve for the map of the world that most Europeans have had in their heads. For all the attempts of the EU to become an independent superpower, we have continued to look west for leadership.'
Fintan O'Toole in "The US will not be at the heart of a new world order after this election"
Several nice turns of phrase in the Economist obit of Andrzej Wajda
'History may sometimes seem optional in Poland; geography shapes its destiny.'
'And since the good Lord had given him two eyes, one to look into the camera and the other to notice what was going on around him, he managed to make history, too.'
The likes of Barry John, Phil Bennett and Tony Ward, impish 10s dowsed in devilry, were considered obsolete as Jonny Wilkinson, all structure and sinew, pocketed the keys to No10. The romantic age was over, faded into black and white. There was no space to drift into and fly-halves became the executors of someone else's will.
Barrett and George Ford are hardly throwbacks to John and Bennett, but neither are they Jonny-come-latelys. They are, in the grand traditions of fly-halves, the masters of opportunity.
Paul Rees (no immediate relation)
“Catholicism imbued a spirit of rebellion and the ghost of faith.”
In a review of Bruce Springsteen’s biography in the Economist.
“In 1968, each candidate could be heard without interruption on network news for 42.3 seconds. By 2000, the length of a sound bite was 7 seconds.” Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: a history
(via John Naughton)
"The IYI has been wrong, historically, on Stalinism, Maoism, GMOs, Iraq, Libya, Syria, lobotomies, urban planning, carbohydrates, gym machines, linear regression, Gaussianism, Salafism, housing projects, and p-values. But he is convinced that his current position is right."
All software has bugs and all networked systems have security holes in them. If you wanted to build a model of our online world out of cheese, you’d need emmental to make it realistic.