carry your bike like a backpack

This is cool.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

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Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Highly recommended. Best book I’ve read in some time.

The Pillars of the Earth is a historical novel by Ken Follett published in 1989 about the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England. It is set in the middle of the 12th century …

The book traces the development of Gothic architecture out of the preceding Romanesque architecture, and the fortunes of the Kingsbridge priory and village against the backdrop of historical events of the time. …

Before this novel was published, Follett was known for writing in the thriller genre. The Pillars of the Earth became his best-selling work which was later made into an 8-part miniseries in 2010. …

It is fantastic. Though I have very little interest in either history or architecture, I was entertained for over 40 hours of audio.

The story leads up to the murder of Thomas Becket by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral.

Gothic architecture characteristics include the pointed arch, the ribbed vault (which evolved from the joint vaulting of Romanesque architecture) and the flying buttress. During the course of the book these innovations come to England.

Reims Cathedral

Ken Follett:

I knew it had to be a long book. It took at least thirty years to build a cathedral and most took longer because they would run out of money, or be attacked or invaded. So the story covers the entire lives of the main characters. My publishers were a little nervous about such a very unlikely subject but, paradoxically, it is my most popular book. It’s also the book I’m most proud of. …

I’ve downloaded the sequel World Without End (2007)

American politics went batshit crazy starting with Newt Gingrich

I ignored American politics until 2004 when — inexplicably — George W. Bush was elected for a second term after being unbelievably bad in his first term.

What the Hell was going on?

Jim VandeHei explains why the USA has such extreme politics in 2017: Newt GingrichFox News (1996), MSNBC, CNN, Facebook and later Twitter, Sarah Palin and finally Trump.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert documented the idiocy.

It’s easy to say Americans deserve the politicians they have.

My fear is that other nations will evolve in the direction of the American way. 😦

you might be killed by a drone

Greg linked to this video. I thought it was real … for the first few minutes.

It’s fiction. Black Mirror scary.

Click PLAY or watch Slaughterbots on YouTube.

The video was created by Autonomousweapons.org and Stuart Russell, a Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. …

Next Web

how Google (and myself) avoid taxes

I’m in Bermuda right now … hiding my vast wealth. 😀

According to the latest available figures, 63 percent of all the profits made outside of the United States by American multinationals are now reported in six low- or zero-tax countries: the Netherlands, Bermuda, Luxembourg, Ireland, Singapore and Switzerland. …

The NY Times has a comparatively simple article with graphics explaining how the stupidly rich hide their money … legally.

How Corporations and the Wealthy Avoid Taxes  (and How to Stop Them)

How do we know?

Much was revealed from the Swiss Leaks (2015), the Panama Papers (2016) and the Paradise Papers (2017).

Only one entity was sued after the Panama Papers.

 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington D.C., dedicated to the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States, and to the era he represents.

Weird and interesting, I liked the unusual layout of this memorial.