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"There’s plenty of evidence that time is running backwards"

You know, I really love this place! It’s dusty all the time, the food is crap most of the time, mosquitos are having me for dinner, and I hate aircos in cars. They’ve made me sick before, and I just don’t get why people need to get this ice cold air into their face. I even prefer the leaded dust right into my eyes. But maybe that’s because it was my first time on a scooter, in Bamako today. Yesterday night we went out to the Blabla Club, at the other side of the Niger. Way too expensive. But le plus singe Josh managed to get us - the usual bunch plus our dear colleagues Moussa, Amadou and the lovely Maimouna - a VIP spot with a bottle of wodka and some juice. But, the bottle was too small, according to Josh. So he had to try and get a bigger bottle. To our great relief he settled down after half an hour of discussion... so we could finally drink the wodka. There are many Lebanese here. They make great humus and baba ganouche. And they own Le Biblos, the club I went to two weeks ago. That probably explains why it is so much more western than the Blabla Club, where they play much more African-style stuff. Unfortunately the guy at the Lebanese restaurant around the corner doesn’t feel like preparing falaffel. But, I now know how to make some myself. At the Miniprix (owned by, you guessed it right, Lebanese folks) they sell fallafel powder. Add half a cup of lukewarm water, form some balls, bake them, et voila! Du fallafel excellent! Maybe I should buy a bag of humus at the Lebanese... Yesterday I bought a little bag of peanut butter. And at the egg-sandwich joint around the corner I just saw them selling a little bag of spaghetti (they didn’t add mayonnaise this time). I really don’t give a rat’s ass about learning all the salutations by heart. It is part of culture, but it is not me. I don’t like to pull off a show every time I meet someone, uttering some magical incantations I don’t understand. But, I still feel that my Bambara is going quite well. I haven’t find any real book in Bambara yet (and I forgot about finding a bilingual French-Bambara book), but I’ve found a nice Bambara course which is great to carry along, say out loud some phrases, make people smile, and corrrect my pronunciation. And, as I wrote yesterday, I actually started writing Bambara myself, still very basic, but it’s directly on the Bambara Wikipedia. Still have to wait for other people to join the effort. But that worked out very well for the Limburgish Wikipedia. I hardly ever write anything myself, but there is now 1 very active (several articles a day!) and some active contributors, and the - to my knowledge - first encyclopedia in Limburgish is approaching 200 articles, written in less then 3 months! Oh, and from the French-Bambara dictionary I learned that Kunafonix (the Malian GNU/Linux LiveCD/InstallCD) should probably be written Kunnafonix... Here in Mali I’m refinding, and redefining myself. It’s a great experience, socially, culturally, intellectually, emotionally. Yesterday I joined Laura on a visit to her Malian family. In Africa it’s very common to be adopted, or rather, be accepted as a member of the ’extended family’. African families are so totally different than Western families. Many many people live in one house, share their lives, their food, their money. Her Malian mother was in a very bad shape. She has diabetics, and would be in trouble even if she were in the West. I hope she’ll recover... On the way there we met Anna, and Rusty, an American living who’s living in the same building as her. He gave me Markus’ phone number, a German saxophone player who ’s allegedly in for some experimentation, and who knows quite some open minded Malian musicians. So that’ll be fun! :)

And now for something completely different...

While writing this I’m concurrently reading this amazingly interesting article, about a "Princeton University project, run by a group of scientists who respect the scientific method, who are trying to do their best at sounding humble while making extraordinary claims". It might be bullocks, but the article is fun to read, and the implications of this stuff being true are - literally - mind-boggling.
During the late 1970s, Prof Jahn decided to investigate whether the power of human thought alone could interfere in some way with the machine’s usual readings. He hauled strangers off the street and asked them to concentrate their minds on his number generator. In effect, he was asking them to try to make it flip more heads than tails. It was a preposterous idea at the time. The results, however, were stunning and have never been satisfactorily explained.
Again and again, entirely ordinary people proved that their minds could influence the machine and produce significant fluctuations on the graph, ’forcing it’ to produce unequal numbers of ’heads’ or ’tails’. I might have told somebody, once, seemingly ages ago, about a yellow Russian schoolbus with weird writings, I dreamt of that night... Sweet dreams!