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Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

From today’s Irish Times: European consumer affairs commissioner Maglena Kuneva will issue an ultimatum to Europe’s biggest low-fares carrier and scores of other EU airlines tomorrow over the way they sell tickets online. She is expected to threaten to “name and shame” those airlines she believes are breaking European consumer laws and ask national regulators […]

You are Stupid. Obviously

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Further, it is obvious that since form is a principle of choice […], new forms will reveal new things in reality, new connections, and naturally, the more the internal coherence of these new forms is stressed in relation to others, the more rigorous they will be. Michel Butor, “The Novel as Research,” translated by Gerald […]

Primo Levi’s Suicide

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

I stumbled across this fascinating article (thanks to a posting on Chet Raymo’s excellent Science Musings blog. It’s an old article, but was news to this monkey. I had always presumed that it was accepted fact that Primo Levi had committed suicide. Virtually every mention of the celebrated Italian chemist/author/holocaust survivor ends noting that Levi […]

How justice works under Prodi’s Government

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

You have to feel sorry for Silvio. While he was in government the European media went to town detailing his every infringement of the democratic norms (of which there were plenty). Since Romano Prodi has been in power scarcely a whimper – for example, how many people outside of Italy know that the current Prime […]

Beppe Grillo’s V-day

Monday, September 10th, 2007

The disjuncture between what goes on and what is reported has rarely been so apparent. On Saturday, with little-to-no advance television publicity, an initiative got under way in Piazzas throughout Italy. The initiative was to collect signatures to propose a new law with three main clauses: 1) No-one fully convicted of a crime should be […]


Monday, September 10th, 2007

Blaming the opinion pollsters (see earlier entry) is usually the resort of the washed-up but sometimes you have to wonder. In this weekend’s Gazeta Wyborcza there are two articles concerning, among other things, mobile phones. Side by side they sit, contradicting each other. Polling agaency CBOS tells us that in a random sample of 903 […]

The Perfect Spy

Friday, September 7th, 2007

There’s an interesting short piece in this week’s Polityka, which I have started reading again on account of how they seem to know what the government/state prosecution office is going to do – and to whom – a week or two in advance of events. Because of a shortage of recruits to the intelligence services, […]

They’d do better to remain silent

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Global 24hr news stations, well-resourced and able to bring us in-depth, live coverage of epoch defining moments. Italy, like many other countries, has had its news media shaken ever so slightly over the last couple of years with the introduction of 24hr news channels. Rai 24, the news flag-ship of state broadcaster specialises in developing […]


Thursday, July 5th, 2007

… for the failure to post any of the deluge of comments over the last few months. This was due to a combination of spam and technical incompetence: in blocking spam to one post I somehow disabled all commenting. Your comments are now up on the relevant pages but I’ll post a few replies of […]

Reza Aslan on Uncle Sam’s efforts to integrate Europe

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

I stumbled upon an interesting dialogue on Bloggingheads.tv between Bruce Feiler and Reza Aslan, author of No God But God (and, apparently, the Brad Pitt of young Muslim commentators…). It’s a lengthy interview, throwing up some interesting points as the two talk about the Iranian community in America, and the political state of play in […]

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