De elaborados libros y palabras – Περί περίτεχνων βιβλίων και λέξεων

El domingo pasado se publico en el Confabulario del Universal este poema de José Manuel Recillas dedicado para Huberto Batis; quise entenderlo y por eso trato a traducirlo en mi idioma materno con la esperanza de no dañarlo.

Για περίτεχνα βιβλία και λέξεις,
———————-ανώνυμες νύχτες λαβυρίνθων,
το γράψιμο της μοίρας σ’ ενα σύννεφο
που αποκρύβει τον καθρέφτη που αλλοιώς ονομάζουμε φεγγάρι· (more…)

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis

I first heard about the “zombie fungus” from Robin Maytum when we were working together at Queen Mary. The story captivated my imagination: The fungus infects an ant, eats up most of its interiors, leaving intact a few key neurons and muscles. Once its feast is done, the fungus can still control the ant’s locomotion, which then moves on to a leaf from where the fungus can best spread out its spores.

If you are the ant, you are unlikely to hold Ophiocordyceps unilateralis high in your esteem, even more to befriend it. Robin was the first cell within the infected ant I encountered. Other tissues were quite unprepared for the infection and so our university (the ant) was overtaken by those fungus-like managers. I have not stopped telling that story ever since.

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Thoughts on undeperformance at Warwickshire College and/or Warwick University

I read yesterday that Warwick’s “Medical School and School of Life Sciences have been warned that the departments are under-performing financially” and that “bosses at the campus, in Gibbet Hill, Coventry, say if they have to cut staff they aim to find volunteers to leave their jobs in return for redundancy payments“. I then saw an earlier report in BBC suggesting that the situation was such at Warwickshire College. Were both institutions issuing job threats to instill uncertainty?

What caught my attention was the terminology used: bosses at the campus. I could think of other terms, more appropriate for those in positions of responsibility in a bank, a prison or a university…

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Microcosmographia – Μικροκοσμογραφία

Three years ago this day, I was in London feeling a personal spring in the fall’s onset!

Three years ahead I enjoy simple breakfasts (coffee, toast with marmelade) sitting on our new home’s terrace in Mexico City, playing with the thoughts of the new day, while watching for that magical moment when the sky appears to light up suddenly, out-of-phase with the gradual arrival of the day and bringing a poetic experience to beings with eyes.

These breakfasts precede the first daily visit to the modern “newspaper” and “arrival of the post”. Ah! one needs to be lucky these days to rejoice in the smelly paper or to carefully open an envelope, looking at the handwriting of a dear fellow soul or an unknown new contact.

And so, this morning, I came across the word “microcosmographia”.

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Ρωτώ, δείχνω κι εγκαλώ. Χαιρετώ τους συντρόφους που δε σηκώνουν το άδικο και δε χαμπαριάζουν από απελπισίες και απογοητεύσεις.

Αυτά τα κόκκινα σημάδια στους τοίχους μπορεί να είναι κι από αίμα.

Αυτά τα κόκκινα σημάδια στους δρόμους μπορεί να είναι από αίμα.

Αυτά τα κόκκινα σημάδια στα τραπέζια που τρώμε ήσυχοι,

στα καθαρά χέρια μας,

στα μάγουλα των παιδιών μας,

μπορεί να είναι από αίμα.

Όλο το κόκκινο στις μέρες μας είναι αίμα.

Και μη γελιέστε.

Δεν είναι κανένα λιόγερμα που χτυπάει τον απέναντι τοίχο.

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Three notable conversations

Internet is changing some aspects of the world we live in. Faster and easier verbal communication between individuals with more dialogues appearing intentionally in the public domain. In separate conversations, I engaged today with Richard Ashcroft, Professor of Bioethics in the Department of Law at Queen Mary University of London and with Anne Marie Cunningham, General Practicioner and Clinical Lecturer in Cardiff University, Wales, UK, neither of whom have I met in person. My “good friend and colleague” also blogged over the use of words in misuse of power, in reply to last night’s tweet from Mexico City! The conversations follow below and can be independently accessed via our respective twitter accounts; I have assumed twitter users don’t mind the reproduction.

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John F. Allen, Professor of Biochemisty, was dismissed by Simon Gaskell, Principal of QMUL

Reposting published items on John’s dismissal written by others.

A salute to whistleblowers

“Now they have got around to sacking John as well, on what has all the appearance of being a trumped-up charge (failing to obey an order from the Head of School)… If you appoint independent thinkers (as surely any university worthy of the name must do), you should not be surprised when they think independently.”

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