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Work: I've been in libraries since 2006; among other things, I spent a year as the at the British Library, wandering around and telling people how nice the internet was, and another five years in . I now mostly do and .

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I'm a Scottish librarian working in London; primarily what I write about here is my and work.

The biggest chunk of that is the project - trying to build a rich dataset of historic parliamentarians, and figure out what interesting things it can tell us.

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“I am sitting in my reasonably grotty Glasgow bedsit being a writer. I have done my statutory spell of staring at the wall…”

—from William McIlvanney’s “Personal Dispatches”: the sad story behind his poem “Bless this House: A Sampler for Glasgow Bedsits”
(CW: suicide)

#Scottish #literature #poetry #20thCentury

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Apparently Belfast is now on Netflix: v strongly recommended if you haven't yet seen it. Amazing film.

"The Sandman is making a legend for a girl". Love the worldbuilding-through-jargon approach.

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Finally finished up the le Carré reread last week while convalescing. Always think of this bit when up on the Heath in the winter.

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I wonder whether we are giving sufficient thought to the possibility that we could be about as close as creating a Human-level of superhuman-level AI with Deep Learning as we were to reanimating corpses with electricity in 1818.

Today's historical footnote: in 1973, the Heath government privatised pubs.

Well, 147 pubs, 11 hotels, some off-licences, and a brewery. In Carlisle. Which had been nationalised in a fit of panic about how to control munition workers drinking in 1916, and then sort of forgotten about.

(One side effect of state management is apparently they had the cheapest beer in the country: Carlisle State Bitter at 10½p a pint. Which sounds like a punchline in its own right.)

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I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,‍‍
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,‍‍
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍An’ fellow-mortal!

—Robert Burns, “To a Mouse, On turning her up in her Nest, with the Plough, November 1785”

#Scottish #literature #poetry #environmentalism #naturewriting #18thCentury #Romanticism

As I sit here in day four of having my second round of COVID, I have discovered that depending on exactly how you parse the confusingly drafted wording of the vaccine eligibility rules, I could have got vaccinated six weeks ago after all.

I mean, come *on*.

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Norman MacCaig (1910–1996) was born #OTD, 14 Nov. A self-described “Zen Calvinist”, when asked how long it took him to write a poem, he would reply “one cigarette – or two for a long one”
A 🎂 🧵

“Assynt & Edinburgh”
Between Mountain & Sea: Poems From Assynt, Polygon Books 2018

#Scottish #literature #poetry #20thCentury


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There were no gods and precious few heroes…
—“Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica”

Today is #ArmisticeDay. Hamish Henderson (1919–2002) was also born #OTD, 11 November. A hugely important figure in 20th-century Scottish culture, Henderson fought in North Africa & Italy in #WW2
A 🧵

#Scottish #literature #poetry #20thCentury

Productive couple of evenings with the work - chipping away at terms with no party listed, and have fixed about 250 of them. Now have a party for every parliamentary term since 1910, hurrah!

(Midterm changes are still not properly represented, but at least there's *something*)

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silicon valley VCs' best ideas of the 2020s:
-put a drone on something
-wrongness generator 3000 (uses more energy than a small nation)
-space pollution
-self-crashing cars
-an app that is actually criminally underpaid workers in another country
-an app that is actually criminally underpaid workers in this country
-vrchat but it cost 20x to make and it fucking sucks

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The word "excellent" is derived from the Christian practice of giving up the use of Microsoft Excel for 40 days to commemorate Christ's sacrifice.

It is a period of great productivity.

The date of lent is calculated by using an obscure Excel macro on a field that didn't originally have anything to do with dates, but Excel converted it to one anyway.

DIY lesson of the day: the expirt dates on grouting tubes actually matter, if it expired almost three years ago then it *is* going to be solid even if unopened.

Bonus lesson: try to learn #1 before removing all the existing grout.

Bonus bonus: if you skip #2, don't learn it after all the shops have shut.

Guess I'm not having a shower in the morning...

Moved onto A Murder of Quality - really surprised by this. Were crank-started cars still floating around in 1962?

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More dispatches from 1961: road safety requirements were a bit more ad-hoc

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