So, after two days in Istanbul – during which I discovered all the trains I wanted to take aren’t running – I’m packed and ready to fly to Diyarbakir tomorrow.  This evening then, marks the end of the beginning of the first leg of my research trip to Kurdistan and Palestine.  Does that make tonight the right ankle of my trip?  Stick with me folks – I’ve had a little sun today, but I’m in a cool basement hotel room now, and the puns might get better…  In the meantime, here’s a puzzle for you, the significance of which will hopefully, like a line of Arabic calligraphy, merge into the shape of a transcendent whole.  (Or perhaps a pineapple, which according to one Turkish artist, is one and the same thing) But on with the game.  The day before I left England my friend Iain asked me to cite the…

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My new Dell Inspiron laptop arrived yesterday.  Having spent the last three months complaining to BlackBerry support about the malfunctioning touchscreen on my new ‘Playbook’ tablet – bought on sale as a Christmas present to self, and cause of nothing but warfare ever since – I was in fact dreading the arrival of this new piece of kit.  Apart from a hiccup of admiration for its sleek black case, I took possession of my new workmate joylessly, and spent the day bleakly summoning the courage to plug the thing in.  Even so, I was not prepared to be crying before I even turned it on. But then, I didn’t expect that Dell’s designers – surely intelligent individuals who occasionally use their own products – would have microwaved their brains and decided to place all the sockets not at the back but along the sides of the notebook. Meaning that my mouse,…

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