Hail, Lobster!

Burried as I am in books and journal articles, and abjuring the more mass apeal social networks as I do, much in popular culture passes me by. I don’t confess this with any sorrow, nor even much pride, it is just the case, to adopt that hideous phrase: ‘it is what it is.’ As a rule, I find that which is menaingul tends to endure, and generally adopt a wait and see attitude to modern culture. Generally preferring to look forward to hearing the latest music and reading the trendy books in about fifty years once Clio has cast her inevitable judgement.  But one piece of the … Read more

Bitcoin’s Dirty Little Secrets – Political

"Government" Mural by Elihu Vedder. Located in the Library of Congress

Continuing from my recent essay, Bitcoin’s Dirty Little Secrets – Environmental, I thought I should give some space to the political dimenion of Bitcoins dirty little secrets. Since the white paper was first published under the name Satoshi Nakamoto, the central premise (pun intended) of Bitcoin has been that: A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Yet for all the promise of an alternative to the centralised monetary systems in use by high street banks and backed by government regulators, Bitcoin is … Read more

Letters of Note

In the email age, it is easy to bemoan the declining standards in our written communication. Perhaps it is a case of volume. With billions of people deemed ‘literate’ by UNESCO, does it not stand to reason there will be a greater level of dross obscuring the gold that abounds? Or perhaps it is the case that familiarity breeds contempt, and the easy way in which we can hammer out a missive on a keyboard means less care is taken to the composition?

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Parliamentary Privilege

The Palace of Westminster in London

Scrolling down the home page of one of my newspapers of choice the other day, I could only find one article not about Coronavirus. While one of the greatest challenges facing our world at the present, it is a public disservice to permit a single topic to dominate all media channels unless there is a topical angle. In this climate, it came as something of a welcome change to see the news channels lighting up on a different topic; social media vs The President.

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Grey Eminence

Grey Eminence, François Leclerc du Tremblay (1577–1638), the right-hand man of Cardinal Richelieu

In France during the first part of the seventeenth century, Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis – better known as Cardinal Richelieu – held enormous power as the king’s ‘Chief Minister.’ In addition to his many titles, Richelieu also had the sobriquet ‘Red Eminence’ [Éminence rouge]. Though often regarded as the power behind the throne, behind him stood another. A ‘Grey Eminence’ [Éminence grise].

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A Marvellous Idea for a Blog

A young poet once said to Mallarmé, “I had the most marvellous idea for a poem this afternoon.” “Oh dear,” said Mallarmé, “what a pity.” “What do you mean?” said the young poet, stung. “Well,” said Mallarmé, “poems aren’t made of ideas, are they? They’re made of words.”

Stephen Fry, The Hippopotamus

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