DAY 121: The Dead

February 20th, 2015 § 0 comments

They do go on; indeed, on any day, I could list a mountain of recent corpses. Come to my notice in the last few days: Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha of Chapel Hill NC, U. S. A. shot by an ‘atheist’ on February 10th;10996106_503491369788834_3094261624110450754_n
Kayla Mueller, International Solidarity Movement activist and ISIS hostage who “worked with Palestinians nonviolently resisting the confiscation and demolitions of their homes and lands” by Israeli occupation forces, presumed killed in a Jordanian airstrike around February 4th; ShowImage.ashx(“a Jew-hating, anti-Israel bitch.”); Sam Andrew, it’s fair to say the last of the original line-up of Big Brother and the Holding Company.17ANDREWobit-articleLarge
February 12th (and author, did I say it, of a blog which deals at least partly with the history of mathematics – why?) I wish I had a comparable birth or even marriage column to set beside this dismal record – it must be a function of my extreme age. And furthermore – it’s my duty to warn you – if you are one of the 1% of the population suffering from a peanut allergy  [which Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School claims has 'elements of a mass psychogenic illness', though saying so will certainly land me in trouble], you risk death or worse as a result of the catastrophic failure of the cumin harvest in Gujerat. Why? Crooked cumin dealers have been replacing echt cumin cuminwith peanuts (as we used to pass off oregano as marijuana) – as if the difference wasn’t obvious to the feeblest palate; and the psychogenically diseased masses have been dying like flies after their falafels. You can of course die of psychogenic diseases, e.g. psychogenic polydipsia polydipsiaor compulsive water drinking. I seem to be straying from the point.

Given all this, we should try to be cheerful, and note a number of quite surprising countries which show a very low incidence of Alzheimer’s dementia. (Ebola is on the decline, by the way, so this blog has given up talking about it.) Indeed, if fear of catching (I know that’s not the word) Alzheimer’s is one of your main concerns, let me recommend you to relocate to the Arab Emirates, Fiji, Singapore, Georgia or Monaco,

CFG_4162-BD_tierWidth3rd Monaco Walk for Alzheimers

all of which have reported 0% as against the UK’s massive 17.1%. There seems to be no obvious connection here. Ukraine has 1.7% against Russia’s 1.6%, which is suggestive – the phrase ‘postcode lottery’ comes to mind.

Power to the People Department

It’s a pleasure to report that Angela Davis is still puttin’ it on the line against capitalism, racism, and imperialism; in her very contemporary Martin Luther King day speech at Santa Cruz. ”The pandemic of intimate violence is not disconnected from state violence,” Davis said. She then called upon us all to “speak out against economic exploitation, against war, against the destruction of the environment, against anti-Muslimism and anti-Semitism, against gender bias and homophobia, for access to good organic non-GMO food, for free health care and free education for all.” Right on!

Hopefully the text will be released soon; meanwhile, up against the wall motherfucker, this is a stick-up!6434_popup [Did you know these words were found scrawled on the wall of the occupied math department at Columbia in 1968? They don't have math departments like that any more, to my knowledge.]

Literary Quote of the Week

‘Every word Lilian Hellman writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the”. (Mary McCarthy) I know why she said this, it had something to do with the Moscow trials; but I have an old-fashioned approach to truth-value based on the propositional calculus. Can ‘the’ occur in a proposition in which it’s ascribed a truth-value ‘F’? The example I came up with (‘This is the life’, implying uniqueness of the life in question, and that the one referred to was it) clearly falls down for more complex reasons; and most of my favourite philosophers – Badiou for example – are little use, since he [Badiou] ‘obviously is not offering a propositional, or correspondence-based, model where truth is determined by the adequation of a statement to a state of affairs that assesses its truth-value.’ Torture might determine whether an utterance of ‘the’ was true or not; this neatly relates Badiou (it’s political), Wolf Hall, and the Moscow Trials. More later.

Publications update

You’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve been advised to submit my paper on proportionality to a respectable journal. The bad news is that it’s a law journal. This means that where (for say Theory Culture and Society, or Mathematische Annalen) you get all the references at the end in some form – I’ll spare you the details – and you’re directed to them in the text by a pointer such as [7, Theorem 1.1], in a law journal everything is dealt with along the way in the footnotes. Which go something like “Gaus, ‘Coercion, Ownership and the Redistributive State: Justificatory


Liberalism’s Classical Tilt’, 27 Social Philosophy and Policy (2010) 233.” Worse, every time there’s a reference to Gaus afterwards, your footnote sends you back to footnote 44 where he first appeared. Plus, note the nasty way the lawyers have of putting the volume number (27) before the name of the journal while the rest of the world puts it after. All of these tricks I learned painfully, or had beaten into me, in law school; but is there an app – I ask plaintively – which will take an article composed in one style and rewrite it in another?

Poem by Emmanuel K. Senyo Kumedzina, 2009, Kumasi.

From the east, west, north and south we all cry, let it rain
Sharply, the wind blows sway branches here and there,
Mothers harrying to carry their babies in their own bosom.
Hares run for their lives

Where is Peace and the Love, where is their makers?
Why do you kill each other and why you let the children cry?
Papa and mama, black and white, God,
Allah and gods, brothers and sister,
Sons and daughters,
Why do you preach peace and practice pieces
Please I cry, let it rain…

Under the sun babies cry,
Under the moon babies still cry saying why mama, why papa?
The moon, sun and the earth cry saying why?
In deep and shallow waters fishes and creatures cry,
In deep and shallow forests the deer cries and run,
Run for its little life.
These are all relics of greed and hatred
Please, papa and mama, sons and daughters
Let peace rain.

Let peace rain like water from heavens, let it rain…
From the east, west, north and South, let peace rain
From mountains and valleys let peace rain and flow…
Politicians and civil servants, teachers and students,
Superiors and subordinates, mothers and fathers,
Sons and daughters, brothers and sisters
Why are your hearts griped with hatred and anger?
When you can just let peace rain to nature creatures of this earth.
Why are your hands griped with innocent bloods?
When you can just let peace flow like blood in you veins.
Why do you enslave yourselves in the prisons of political
Tribal, Racial, Religious and social differences?
When you can just let peace build a better home for us.
Please I say and cry, Let peace rain…

Why can’t you free yourselves from the
Bondage of hatred and let peace rain
For, where there is peace, there is great love
Where there is peace, one need not struggle and search for justice
Where there is peace, love and justice,
Freedom flows like a rain, where freedom lives there is development.
So free yourself.
Free from the bondage of hatred, anger, greed,
Free from tribalism.
Free at last from political, economic exploitation
And let the supreme peace rain…


Have I never posted sixties folk/jazz group Pentangle? Bert Jansch, now in Highgate Cemetery, but Jacqui McShee and John Renbourn still going. Here in a light mix of 5/8 and 7/8, ‘Light Flight‘.



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