In my inbox are urgent messages from Pellegrino Bixby, Hippocrates Sink, Elma Triplett and Melchor Prendergast—I soon realise that Thomas Pynchon has been spamming me again. In the streets the trees are smelling of semen, and the green fields are stinking of long-sown dung. I learn the word griggles, which the OED defines as 'Small apples left on the tree by the gatherer'—what a wealth of metaphoric possibility! I play online boggle, late into the night, and still, after so many weeks, have yet to find a better word than aubade, though I have found longer. Aaron Haspel writes a terrific post outlining a series of logic problems and the heuristics of George Polya. Meanwhile, Pretzel Bender forwards me an article from Science on mass data-collection. It turns out that a Finnish physicist, using data from 7 million telephone-calls, has been able to analyse social networking with unprecedented sophistication:
Van der Leij calls this the first large-scale, empirical confirmation of a theory, first proposed in 1973 by Mark Granovetter, a sociologist at Stanford University in California, that "for keeping society connected, acquaintances are more important than close friends".I staunchly have refused to maintain acquaintances, except where necessary, as in the workplace. Such an attitude is aided, in my case, by having a large number of close friends; still, perhaps Conrad is not 'doing his bit' for Society? The Finnish study showed that without the 'weakest links' in a community, 'the system shatters into islands'. Islands, I might suggest, like the Varieties—the vain dissemination of irrelevancies, among an élite joined only by a common love of the arcane and the recondite.