This is really too good to be true, but we got pictorial evidence.

IT WAS not until midway through the live television interview that the BBC interviewer started to grow suspicious. The man whom she believed to be an expert on internet music downloads seemed to know precious little about his subject.

Not only that, but the stocky black man with the strong French accent bore little resemblance to the picture on the expert’s website, which showed a slim white man with blue eyes and blond hair.

The interview’s here.

Via Nick Whyte

The Life of Leo Africanus

TNR reviews a new biography

Now Davis brings this project of twentieth-century historiography full circle: not writing the life of someone unknown who did not write, but writing the life of someone famous who wrote a great deal but not much about his own life. The challenge here is to coax biographical details out of a non-biographical text. Few are better at this than Davis. And in pursuing this project, in tackling a well-known figure about whom little is known, Davis has poured new life into an old-fashioned genre: the “Life and Work” biography re-interpreted as the “History of the Book.”

Al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Wazzan was born in Granada around 1486-1488. He died, perhaps in Tunis, sometime after 1532. Between 1518 and 1527, this same person lived in Rome and went by the names Joannes Leo (Latin), Giovanni Leone (Italian), and Yuhanna al-Asad (Arabic). Posterity knows him by still another name, given posthumously: Leo Africanus, his nom de plume. But who was he? This is the puzzle facing Davis. Unlike Martin Guerre, whose story lay buried in an archive, but buried whole, the man formerly known as Leo Africanus hides in plain sight.

The Endless Journey

The Endless Journey
One part of western culture that has been little recorded and also greatly repressed is that of the Gypsies.

Their culture remains one of the most misunderstood and underrepresented, and is often falsely stereotyped by other cultures. Some characteristics that permeate all gypsy cultures is the denial of citizenship, denial of being bound to any piece of land, except to the earth as a whole. Although some gypsies claim that their journey is in the search of a homeland, the truth is that they would rather hold steadfast to their heritage than give it up for a settled home. Gypsies who settle down, tend to absorb the culture around them and become members of the culture they join.

EURES: one million job offers within the EU

The EU launched a new website today, EURES where one million jobs within the EU will be on offer. From the EURES-site:

EURES (EURopean Employment Services) brings together the European Commission and the public employment services of the countries belonging to the European Economic Area and Switzerland. Other regional and national bodies concerned with employment issues are also included, such as trade unions, employers’ organisations, as well as local and regional authorities. (…) EURES is playing an increasing role in identifying the surpluses and deficits of manpower in different sectors, and in overcoming qualification bottlenecks. The network also helps improve employability, particularly that of young people, through the acquisition of professional experience abroad. EURES also contributes to the creation of a common European labour market, as well as, in certain border regions, to the establishment of an integrated regional labour market.

Currently, only 2 percent of 450 million Europeans work legally in another member state. (source: De Telegraaf)