Season XVIII – Alphaday 10

Hi Alphas,

Welcome to Alphaday 10, Season XVIII. We’ve reached the big ‘one-0’ mark and we’ll start ticking off ‘last-of-the-season’ events from now on. With a nod to the ‘glass half-empty / half-full’ image, we’re heading for culminations – there’s no question of fizzling out.

Our Alphadays always bring plenty of new, inspirational ideas and today’s Alphaday is no exception as you’ll see from the agenda which you’ve all helped to fill with goodies. It’ll be presented by the Alpha team as follows:

Alphaday 10, Season XVIII agenda:

  • This bulletin from me
  • The brief for Challenge 8 from Morgen
  • The collated entries for the ‘Fill the gap’ challenge from Cat
  • The results and feedback for the ‘Hitherto unknown person’ from Rick
  • A Writers’ Reads prompt from Martin
  • The Alpha Log 5th edition from Phil

I think you’ll agree we’re in for some special treats to keep us busy for a while as we study the contents. Enjoy!

Alpha news: Phil’s Log will give us the latest news about how you’re getting on.

As you know I’ve been struggling with the unfair punishment imposed by Gmail, who put me on their blacklist and intercepted all emails I sent to Gmail addresses (from all my three email addresses). I’ve spent hours wading from web-pillar to post to find a solution. My patience was sorely tried (please, excuse the understatement) and I never found anything except references to figures and letters to authenticate … and not understanding a word. My domain had to be authenticated, too, and there’s a good reason why that’s impossible: I don’t have one.

Maybe I sent out too many group emails on one day: harassment of Alphas on Alphaday. The other possible crimes don’t fit.

Luckily Francesca is at hand to forward my group emails (thank you, Francesca!) and that seems to work smoothly. Over the last week or so I’ve even been in touch with individual Gmail addressees, and with a bit of luck the problem is over. Remains to be seen how my group emails fare. If necessary I’ll have to get the help of an expert technician, as I can’t work this out myself.

General news: Sadly the overwhelming news these days is the horrific death and destruction wreaked by one man’s thirst for domination. A month ago we didn’t think that possible. Yet it is happening and we can’t escape the nagging fear of worse to come. A civilised world should be able to solve problems by negotiating.

The cultural world is doing their best, and I believe it can play an important part. Seeing a pianist playing a grand piano wearing fingerless mittens in the middle of a bombarded square brought tears to my eyes. Hearing stars and sportspeople speaking out and taking action sends out a strong message. Depriving ordinary Russians of their favourite parts of western culture such as Starbucks and MacDonald’s also makes a statement. They’ll have to make do with their native treats of vodka, kvas, samovar tea, borsch … and blinis with caviar instead of coca-cola and Big Mac. Somehow that doesn’t look like much of a punishment, but the knowledge that they’re shunned by so many people and organisations in the west must surely hit home. One wonders how much can be distorted by censorship and propaganda.

How often do we remember George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’? That scenario has scared people ever since the novel was first published in 1948. Orwell’s forebodings ring true every time we’re reminded that this isn’t ‘the best of all possible worlds’. (Voltaire, ‘Candide’, 1759 satirical novella.)

Christine

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