Skip to content


Nil nisi mortuum and all that

David Graeber, anthropologist and anarchist author of bestselling books on bureaucracy and economics including Bullshit Jobs: A Theory and Debt: The First 5,000 Years, has died aged 59.

On Thursday Graeber’s wife, the artist and writer Nika Dubrovsky, announced on Twitter that Graeber had died in hospital in Venice the previous day. The cause of death is not yet known.

Renowned for his biting and incisive writing about bureaucracy, politics and capitalism, Graeber was a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement and professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics (LSE) at the time of his death. His final book, The Dawn of Everything: a New History of Humanity, written with David Wengrow, will be published in autumn 2021.

He also had a slightly disturbing habit of turning up as a sock puppet in the comments sections of those who disagreed with him.

Still, interesting, talented and deluded which is a better trio than most of us will manage in this vale of tears.

Lessons from the front line of the writing trade

Full stops have become the latest casualty of youthful sensitivity as experts say they can be “intimidating”.

Blah, blah, little snowflakes etc.

Although there is a point* here:

The meaning of the full stop in online communications has been a debate raging among linguists for years.Prof David Crystal, one of the world’s leading language experts, thinks the use of the punctuation mark is being “revised in a really fundamental way”.
In his 2015 book, Making a Point, he explains that instead of its original purpose, signifying the end of a sentence, it has become an “emotion marker”, signifying anger or annoyance.
He said: “You look at the internet or any instant messaging exchange – anything that is a fast dialogue taking place. People simply do not put full stops in, unless they want to make a point.

“Look. At. This.” is different from “Look at this”.

Here the particular point is about putting a full stop at the end of a text message. Given that you’ve sent it you probably have already finished it therefore the use of the . or not the . can take on that new meaning.

There is though nothing very new with this. We peeps who write for the internets were being told 15 years back that we should not use a . in a headline. At least, at the end of one. A ? Or a ! might occasionally be used but never a . Put people off d’ye see?

Well, no, I don’t, but them’s the rules we’re given.

*See what I did there? Ahahaha! Ahem.

This is good from Bongo

I had to laugh at the couple who put 2k on their credit card to get back to the UK from France on Friday. The maximum fine for a breach of Q is £1k and the chance of being contacted to check you’re doing Q is 0.2. I don’t want these people doing any cost benefit analysis that affects others.

What’s the betting their mathematicians working with Ferguson on Covid models?

What joy

So, there was this bloke who worked in Bath as a software engineer, engineer type in a local company which happened to be one of the world leading ones to do with undersea and North Sea engineering. Oil platforms and the like. Not quite sure why the location, could be the Admiralty engineering peeps strewn around the town, could have been an offshoot of Stothert and Pitt, could be just happenstance.

Like all sensible people he occasionally drank in the best pub in town.

Then California calls and off he goes to work for one of the big ‘uns. Taking with him only his veneration for a US naval officer

At which point:

Google to build ‘Grace Hopper’ subsea cable linking US to UK and Spain

Coincidence? I think not….

Very funny

No, really, just great:

I’ve been chuckling about this all day so I had to share it with you.

Fergus Walsh, the BBC’s medical correspondent, has written about how he was ‘gobsmacked’ to repeatedly test positive for the coronavirus antibody (meaning, obviously, that he has had the virus).

Oh, very good indeed

So, all these unemployed folk are going to be used building the wondrous new infrastructure required for the future.

Gudgeon rather punctures this:

That would be the same pool of labour we’ve deemed incapable of pulling potatoes or picking strawberries.


In response to a comment:

Yes, it’s bloody annoying. The latest update of WordPress (I assume) doubles links. So:

link link

It doesn’t do it for Richard, the code monkey. It doesn’t do it on other sites (ie, the ASI, which uses Squarespace). I’ve changed mouse so it’s not that.


Dunno why, but it does.

To show the doubling again, with the html:

<a href=””>link </a><a href=””>link </a>


Just a little thing

I know, I know, complaints about spam traps and timing of comments etc.

Just had a look at the spam trap, which only holds spam for 30 days, then it falls out into being entirely deleted.

There’re 10,000 pieces in there. Sorry, this is not perfectible. Any system trying to deal with this will have errors and compromises.

This guy’s trying to sell me marketing advice

Hello ,

Hope you are doing well this day and everything’s fine at your end.

It’s always suggested to keep a website error free and user friendly according to Google. Because having technical issues will hamper the performance as well as reputation.

You must make sure your website can be viewed from every mobile operating system and with most web browsers. For this you need to make sure your website will be error free and mobile friendly.

Rather lost my business with that second word of the email….


“How the Aspiring Can Learn to Write Like Economists”

From our ever popular series of commenting on other people’s headlines.

Doubt it really

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s niece, Theo Clarke, has been selected as the Tory candidate for Stafford, following Jeremy Lefroy’s announcement that he will be standing down at the next election. With Jacob, Annunziata and now Theo, the Rees-Mogg dynasty has almost taken over…

Theo – who previously described her uncle as “a well-spoken mortician, come to collect the corpse of compassion” – is the daughter of Jacob’s wife,

The daughter of your wife is not your niece…..

Fun with blogging

This from BiG has just become the crux of a piece that someone will pay me for:

r, US pricing of insulin is a classic example of regulatory unintended consequences. It’s regarded as a drug in the US, but because of the nature of the product it is impossible to produce a “generic” insulin. In Europe it is regulated as a biological product (which it is), opening the way to demonstrate that “generics” (biosimilars, technically) are as good as without demonstrating they are identical at the molecular level. In the US that route is not open to “generic” competitors to the 3 big insulin manufacturers.

The FDA will catch up with the rest of the world next year and you will see sensible insulin prices in the US from around 2021/2022 onwards.

I guess beer is owed…..

Poem of the day

They fuck you up, your mum and dad,
Especially if they’re hippy clowns.
Why would they make a small boy sad
By clothing him in frocks and gowns?

But wouldn’t you grow up deranged,
If your Mum called you “Hobbit’, hey?
The lunacy gets handed down
And never seems to go away.

Eugenics is a dirty word,
But surely there must be a place,
For cleaning the gene pool of turds,
To benefit the human race?