Naomi Alderman at the Spectator names Breaking Bread with the Dead as her book of the year! — alongside, as her fiction choice, Susanna Clarke’s wondrous Piranesi.
Sometyme about this Countrey are seen these men which they call Finmen. Tuo years agoe one wes seen sometym sailing sometym rowing up & dooun in his litle Boat, att the south end of the Ile of Eda. Most of the people of the Ile flocked to see him, & when they adventured to putt out a Boat with men to see iff they could apprehend him, he presentlie fled away most swiftlie. This same year another wes seen from westra, since which tyme they have gott few or no fishes: for they have this Remarque heer that these finnmen drive away the fishes from the place to which they come.
And a wonderfully detailed investigation by the BBC of a another nautical mystery: Are orcas really attacking boats in the Atlantic off the coast of Portugal?
Via John D. Cook I learn that the great computer scientist Edgar Dijkstra (1930-2002) wrote a newsletter for his colleagues in CS. He just photocopied and mailed it. In the early years he typed it up, like this, but as time went by he made it a little more personal:
Parables are told only because they are true, not because the actions of the characters in them can be recommended for imitation. Good Samaritans are regularly sued. Fathers who give parties for wayward sons are rightly rebuked. Employers who pay equal wages for unequal work have labor-relations problems. And any Shepherd who makes a practice of leaving ninety-nine sheep to chase after a lost one quickly goes out of the sheep-ranching business. The parables are only true because they are like what God is like, not because they are merely models for us to copy. It is simply a fact that the only thing we dare not under any circumstances imitate is the only thing that can save us. The parables are, one and all, about the foolishness by which Grace raises the dead. They apply to no sensible process at all – only to the divine insanity that brings everything out of nothing.