Poems While You Wait by Kathleen Rooney | Poetry Foundation
Poems While You Wait
The Work of Poetry in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Kathleen Rooney. February 22, 2012

25 June 2017
poetry  poetics  poetical.engines 
2 days ago
The Liminal Library: My Talk to the SCONUL Conference – A Stick, a Dog, and a Box with Something In It
I gave this talk to the SCONUL Conference, in Gateshead, June 7 2017. Sconul is the Society of College, National and University Libraries.

some excerpts —


If the meaning of a word is its pattern of use, and we use this work to descibe a thing we do, then we find ourselves at the question: what is it that a library does?

What is it that only a library does?

And should a library do only the thing that a library does, as the world shifts and science becomes driven by the capabilities of technology and literary research relies more on Google Scholar and Menderley and Zotero than close reading of a text and augmented intelligences threaten to replace research assistants at the side of distinguished professors (and seek no acknowledgement in papers or preferment)?

What is that thing?

I think it’s about being the threshold between different forms of captured knowledge.


we must always acknowledge that the combination of physical and virtual space is itself as unique as the physical space, and allow for the local reality to intrude.


You are here to decide not only what your libraries contain and what they offer but, in this time of enormous threat, what we say when we say ‘library’. To decide that it means ‘something chosen’, in contrast to the great mass of everything on offer everywhere else.

Because I see a danger that library becomes, like digital, a word that conveys no meaning at all, that makes no distinction, that has neither intension nor extension but is merely a grunt made by someone who does not appreciate how today’s scholarly environment works.

You currently have an opportunity to define for yourselves a space where to talk of the library or the library service is to raise the spirit and give hope that someone, somewhere, will help – whether you’re a struggling academic or a downhearted undergraduate or a doctoral student lost in the wild wood.

So, can we capture the sense of the library and abstract something from it that will be worthy of the name in ten or twenty or fifty years time?
Bill.Thompson  libraries 
3 days ago
Benjamin Kipling, Bell Tuner | Spitalfields Life
he Gentle Author – So it is a question of striking the bell and then bridging the difference between what it is and what you want it to sound like, do you expect to get there immediately or is it a long process?

Benjamin Kipling – Bell tuning is a job of many stages. Calculating what I am aiming for in a particular bell gives me the size of the gap. Usually, I try and make a series of cuts that will get me halfway between where I was and where I need to be, so I can check the bell is responding as I expect it to. Then I will go half as far again, and half as far again, and gradually close in, which theoretically means I never get there. Yet, in practice, this is engineering not mathematics and if I overshoot by a fraction of a semitone then nobody is going to notice. I try and tune a bell to within a cent, which is 1/100 of a semitone, but nobody is going to hear if it is two or three cents out.

The Gentle Author – Are there different kinds of cuts you make to a bell?

Benjamin Kipling – Only in terms of shallow cuts or deep cuts, but they are in different areas of the bell. For instance, if you cut metal out of the shoulder of the bell, the second partial tone flattens more quickly. In the middle of the bell, it is the hum note, the lowest one, that flattens the most quickly. Towards the lip, it is the nominal tone which flattens most quickly. Generally, wherever you take metal off a bell all of the partial tones will move – so it is a juggling act.

The Gentle Author – What is the minimum number of cuts?

Benjamin Kipling – One! But if you are tuning a bell and you are getting very close, you might make one little scratch and test it again, and make another scratch and test it again – it could take dozens.

The Gentle Author – Do you rely upon your ears or instruments?

Benjamin Kipling - The ear is always the final arbiter as to whether a bell sounds good or not.

. . . . .

The Gentle Author – Are you a self-taught bell tuner?

Benjamin Kipling – Partly. I found some tuning graphs on the internet showing how the different partial tones respond according to where you take metal off a bell. But I had to teach myself how to drive the machine and how much metal to take off, which obviously is nerve-wracking and involves taking off tiny amounts to begin with and checking. Then you find the sound of the bell has hardly changed and so you take off a bit more, until you realise you actually have to take quite a bit of metal off to make any significant difference.

The Gentle Author – Did you ever take too much off?

Benjamin Kipling - The simple answer is ‘No.’ If you are gradually homing in on what you want, that should not be a problem. In practice, with four of the five partial tones, it is possible to go back up again if necessary. Generally, you are thinning the wall of the bell and making it more flexible so it vibrates at a lower frequency. Each time you take a little off, the notes go down. However, by taking more metal off the lip of the bell, it is possible to get four of those five to come back up. So there are usually ways of sorting these things out.

June 25, 2017
tuning  bell.tuning  londinium  approximations 
3 days ago
What lies beneath the brave new world of feminist dystopian sci-fi?
Vanessa Thorpe. The Guardian. 24 June 2017

good overview, augmented (amidst some snark etc) in the comments.
3 days ago
How Machines Write Poetry - Motherboard
How Machines Write Poetry
Elizabeth Preston. Motherboard.
December 15 2015
It’s easy to write software that creates legible poetry. But computer scientists are interested in the next step: a program that’s actually creative.

20 June 2017
7 days ago
The geeks are inherent at birth: older men have geekier sons, study finds
Older men tend to have “geekier” sons who are more aloof, have higher IQs and a more intense focus on their interests than those born to younger fathers, researchers claim.

Ian Sample. The Guardian. 20 June 2017

but see contrary (earlier) view, at
autism  age 
8 days ago
Why Emigre mattered – and still matters - Creative Review
Massimo Vignelli once called it a “factory of garbage” but for 20 years Emigre magazine provided a vital forum for fierce debate about the future of graphic design. As the first UK exhibition about the title opens, Rick Poynor looks at its enduring influence

Rick Poynor
Creative Review
12 June 2017
emigre  Rick.Poynor  design.writing 
9 days ago
'Life is like a ball of wool': how Iranian poetry brought me closer to my father | Music | The Guardian
'Life is like a ball of wool': how Iranian poetry brought me closer to my father
When I invited my father Bahram to read Persian verse over my music, neither of us were prepared for such an emotional reaction

Cyrus Shahrad. The Guardian. 18 June 2017
poetry  Persia  music 
10 days ago
Supercharged children– in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian
Known for his portraits of Spanish miners, Pierre Gonnord has turned his technique to young people, creating portraits that look like oil paintings. Light of the Soul by Pierre Gonnord is at Festival Portrait(s), Vichy, France, 16 June to 10 September. All photographs: Pierre Gonnord; he is represented by the Galería Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid

portraits  Pierre.Gonnord 
12 days ago
'Gwyneth glows like a radioactive swan' – my day at the Goop festival | Life and style | The Guardian
'Gwyneth glows like a radioactive swan' – my day at the Goop festival
With its kale ice-cream, rose quartz eggs and inhouse shaman, Paltrow’s ‘wellness adventure’ is silly and fun. But is it only for rich, white people who are disproportionately well already?

Lindy West. The Guardian. 14 June 2017
health  radioactivity  goop  whiteness 
13 days ago
From crushed bugs to cow urine: the history of colours
From crushed bugs to cow urine: the history of colours – in pictures

A new exhibition in Melbourne curated by paint-maker David Coles tracks the history of over 200 pigments – some deadly, some revolting, and some so rare and expensive they are no longer in circulation. The exhibition also features the strange world of modern colours – those that can only be seen when touched, for instance, or are invisible in sunlight.
It is accompanied by 30 works from around the world which showcase how these pure colours are converted into art. ‘Making colour, whether developing the paint or building pigments from scratch, is such an act of creativity,’ Coles says. ‘It’s alchemy, a blend of art and science.’
• Chromotopia is at Tacit Contemporary Art in Melbourne until 18 June
David Coles
Tuesday 13 June 2017

for example —

Oak gall

This medieval ink starts with a wasp. In spring it punctures the soft young buds of the oak tree and lays its eggs. The tree forms little nut-like growths around the wasp holes – and it is these protective oak galls which, when crushed and fermented, created the basis of a deep black drawing ink of the Middle Ages.
14 days ago
Follow that bee! Brittany's animal obsessives
ollow that bee! Brittany's animal obsessives – in pictures

Ed Alcock travelled to Morbihan in northwest France to photograph people working with animals, from a roaming beekeeper to an underground bat conservationist. His work is at the La Gacilly photography festival, Brittany, until 30 September
Tuesday 13 June 2017
14 days ago
The Typewriter Repairman (Preview Version) on Vimeo
The Typewriter Repairman (Preview Version)
from Thomas Draudt
typewriter  typewriting 
15 days ago
In the future will equities be allowed to fall? | Notayesmanseconomics's Blog
Should the next recession or slow down hit before we see any form of exit strategy then there will be much less scope to buy government bonds. Now that the Bank of Japan has broken the moral barrier around buying equities and indeed property such a scenario would see others follow. If we look at the UK then as the current Bank of England Governor is a “dedicated follower of fashion” he would be likely to join the party.

There are a lot of catches here as we look forwards to a potential future. Equities are supposed to provide a form of price discovery as individuals buy and sell and hopefully there is investing in what are good ideas and people. Central banking bureaucrats are unlikely to add any value here.There attempts so far have fallen on stony ground.

6 June 2017

sounds a little like China…
22 days ago
An Atlas of Consonance | Sohl
An Atlas of Consonance : http://bit.ly/14YZ055 A graphical tool for the visualization of consonance and dissonance.
music  sound  consonance  dissonance 
29 days ago
World Bank economist sidelined after demanding shorter emails and reports
A 2015 study by Stanford University’s Literary Lab found World Bank publications seemed almost to be “another language”. The study coined the term “Bankspeak” to describe report styles becoming “more codified, self-referential, and detached from everyday language.”

Oliver Holmes. The Guardian. 26 May 2017
language  writing  bank.speak 
4 weeks ago
Nasa's Juno probe captures dramatic first close-up images of Jupiter
Nasa's Juno probe captures dramatic first close-up images of Jupiter
Excitement greets pictures of giant, chaotic weather systems plus new measurements that will help build unprecedented map of planet’s interior

Ian Sample. The Guardian. 25 May 2017
Jupiter  NASA 
4 weeks ago
Are we about to witness the most unequal societies in history? | Inequality | The Guardian
Yuval Noah Harari. The Guardian. 24 May 2017

Humans basically have just two types of skills – physical and cognitive – and if computers outperform us in both, they might outperform us in the new jobs just as in the old ones. Consequently, billions of humans might become unemployable, and we will see the emergence of a huge new class: the useless class.

This is one reason why human societies in the 21st century might be the most unequal in history. And there are other reasons to fear such a future.

The grandchildren of Silicon Valley tycoons might become a superior biological caste
With rapid improvements in biotechnology and bioengineering, we may reach a point where, for the first time in history, it becomes possible to translate economic inequality into biological inequality. Biotechnology will soon make it possible to engineer bodies and brains, and to upgrade our physical and cognitive abilities. However, such treatments are likely to be expensive, and available only to the upper crust of society. Humankind might consequently split into biological castes.

Throughout history, the rich and the aristocratic always imagined they had superior skills to everybody else, which is why they were in control. As far as we can tell, this wasn’t true. The average duke wasn’t more talented than the average peasant: he owed his superiority only to unjust legal and economic discrimination. However, by 2100, the rich might really be more talented, more creative and more intelligent than the slum-dwellers. Once a real gap in ability opens between the rich and the poor, it will become almost impossible to close it.

The two processes together – bioengineering coupled with the rise of AI – may result in the separation of humankind into a small class of superhumans, and a massive underclass of “useless” people.
inequality  biological.castes 
5 weeks ago
The Lost Typefaces of W.A. Dwiggins - Atlas Obscura
The Lost Typefaces of W.A. Dwiggins
The pioneering designer created dozens of fonts, only a few of which are still around today.

Cara Giaimo, Atlas Obscura. May 19, 2017
W.A.Dwiggins  WAD  typography 
5 weeks ago
Purple Rain 08 03 1983 Minneapolis First Avenue Purple Rain
Prince Frist time played Purple Rain 08 03 1983 Minneapolis First Avenue Purple Rain
5 weeks ago
The Verbasizer was David Bowie’s 1995 Lyric-Writing Mac App - Motherboard
Matthew Braga. January 11, 2017

"Roberts described Bowie as taking multiple word sources, from the newspaper to hand-written words, cutting them up, throwing them into a hat and then arranging the fragments on pieces of paper. He'd then cross out material that didn't fit to create lines of lyrics," Hypebot senior contributor Clyde Smith recounted.

"Roberts suggested he could create software for Bowie to speed up the process and did so for use on a Mac laptop."

The Verbasizer, though faster, was merely the latest incarnation of Bowie's cut-up process. Bowie described the technique in a 1974 BBC documentary, Cracked Actor, as "igniting anything that might be in my imagination," and would use it often in the decade's remaining years.
cutup  poetical.engines 
5 weeks ago
Elizabeth Strout’s Long Homecoming - The New Yorker
Ariel Levy. The New Yorker. May 1, 2017

Withholding is important to Strout. She never speaks about books before they’re finished, because, she said, “there’s a pressure that has to build, and if I talk about it then I can’t write it. It’s like putting a pin in a balloon and just popping the air out.”
Elizabeth.Strout  writing 
5 weeks ago
ambiguations / “A Boring Book In which Nothing Happens.” Noah Van Sciver
These are some pages from a weird graphic novel I guess I’ve abandoned. The file is called “A Boring Book In which Nothing Happens.”
Noah Van Sciver

I am the worst cartoonist ever.
I really should quit and just get a job at a hardware store.
But who would hire me at this point? I'm doomed!
6 weeks ago
Eve Babitz, a Glamour Girl Who Refused to Be Dull
Dwight Gardner reviews reprints of Eve's Hollywood and Slow Days, Fast Company
NYTimes, 4-5 May 2017

Babitz is 73. She stopped writing after suffering severe burns in a freak accident in 1997.

not quite accurate.
Two by Two : Tango, Two-Step, and the L.A. Night appeared in 1999.
It's a lovely book about dancing, whose penultimate paragraph is :

For me, what happened in the hospital was bad, but having something to look forward to made it possible to survive. Having been through humiliation and varieties of spiritual despair, being unable for so long even to follow, I was in the perfect frame of mind to do whatever a physical therapist told me, no matter how horrible it was. Moving across a bed, getting on a walker (!), that whole grisly and ugly bunch of stuff—all nothing, having done salsa.
eve.babitz  dance 
7 weeks ago
Once a Lace Capital, Now Riven by French Politics
Once a Lace Capital, Now Riven by French Politics
Globalization silenced the historic looms of Calais; blue-collar voters there represent the forces powering the far right.

Liz Alderman. NYTimes April 29, 2017
lace  globalization 
7 weeks ago
Indonesians Seek to Export a Modernized Vision of Islam - The New York Times
Joe Cochrane. NYTimes. May 1-2, 2017

want international consensus on Islam, among Muslims.
bring back Pancasila.
Indonesia  pancasila 
8 weeks ago
The people of Harlem, as painted by Alice Neel – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian
Alice Neel, Uptown is at Victoria Miro, London N1 from 18 May-29 July. A catalogue accompanies the exhibition, published by David Zwirner Books and Victoria Miro.
Tim Adams. The Guardian. 29 April 2017
Alice.Neel  portraits 
8 weeks ago
Vito Acconci (1940-2017)
Vito Acconci, Performance Artist and Uncommon Architect, Dies at 77
Randy Kennedy. NYTimes. 27-28 April 2017
Vito.Acconci  obituaries 
8 weeks ago
Robert M. Pirsig (1928-2017)
Robert M. Pirsig, Author of ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,’ Dies at 88

Paul Vitello. NYTimes. 24-25 April 2017
Robert.M.Pirsig  obituaries  maintenance  machinery  zen  areté 
8 weeks ago
Letter of Recommendation: The Recordings of Pauline Oliveros - The New York Times
Claire-Louise Bennett. NYTimes Magazine. 9/12 February 2017

an appreciation.
9 weeks ago
Violent spring: The nature book that predicted the future | Books | The Guardian
Violent spring: The nature book that predicted the future
Robert Macfarlane remembers JA Baker’s The Peregrine – a fierce, ecstatic, prophetic account of one man’s obsession that has held readers in its talon-like grip for 50 years

Robert Macfarlane. The Guardian. 15 April 2017
anthropocene  birds  J.A.Baker  Robert.Macfarlane 
10 weeks ago
The roles of impact and inertia in the failure of a shoelace knot | Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
The roles of impact and inertia in the failure of a shoelace knot
Christopher A. Daily-Diamond, Christine E. Gregg, Oliver M. O'Reilly
Published 12 April 2017.DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2016.0770

Proceedings of the Royal Society a


The accidental untying of a shoelace while walking often occurs without warning. In this paper, we discuss the series of events that lead to a shoelace knot becoming untied. First, the repeated impact of the shoe on the floor during walking serves to loosen the knot. Then, the whipping motions of the free ends of the laces caused by the leg swing produce slipping of the laces. This leads to eventual runaway untangling of the knot. As demonstrated using slow-motion video footage and a series of experiments, the failure of the knot happens in a matter of seconds, often without warning, and is catastrophic. The controlled experiments showed that increasing inertial effects of the swinging laces leads to increased rate of knot untying, that the directions of the impact and swing influence the rate of failure, and that the knot structure has a profound influence on a knot's tendency to untie under cyclic impact loading.

knots  topology  shoes 
10 weeks ago
(null) / Celtic Coin of the Dobunni King Corio
Celtic Coin of the Dobunni King Corio

This is a ‘Tree Type’ gold stater of the Dobunni tribe. It was struck circa 20 BC to AD 5 during the rule of Corio. On the obverse is the image of a tree-like emblem known as a Dobunnic Tree, with a pellet below. The reverse bears the name Co[rio] above a triple-tailed, stylized Celtic horse, with a wheel below and other symbols in the field. The Dobunnic Tree’s meaning is unclear although corn, ferns and a form of a wreath have all been suggested as explanations.

stunningly beautiful coin.
numismatics  design  rounds 
10 weeks ago
Goodbye things, hello minimalism: can living with less make you happier? | Books | The Guardian
Goodbye things, hello minimalism: can living with less make you happier?
Fumio Sasaki owns a roll-up mattress, three shirts and four pairs of socks. After deciding to scorn possessions, he began feeling happier. He explains why

Fumio Sasaki. The Guardian. 12 April 2017
japan  space 
11 weeks ago
what is life
Thomas Edison's bizarre theory of intelligent atoms that decide which other atoms they wish to combine with (1892): ªªhttp://bit.ly/2nnXXKS ºº

via @ptak RT
Thomas.Edison  intelligent.atoms 
11 weeks ago
Blake Gopnik on art / Lisa Blas Finds Twins for the ‘Times,’ for Our Times
Lisa Blas Finds Twins for the ‘Times,’ for Our Times

THE DAILY PIC (#1768): Every Monday since 2015, New York artist Lisa Blas has been posting a pair of images on her Web site. One is the lead photo on the front page of that day’s New York “Times.” The other is a work of art she has chosen to show with it.

Sometimes her images are twinned because they somehow rhyme, in color or line or composition. On other Mondays there has been an almost comic, or maybe satirical, contrast between her two pictures. But I’m particularly fond of pairings like the one I’ve chosen as today’s Daily Pic, where the echoes have mostly to do with content.

On Monday July 6, 2015, Blas twinned an image of turmoil in today’s Greece with a gorgeous Greek coin—a “stater”—minted almost 2,500 years earlier and now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There’s a telling contrast, of course, between current disarray and earlier ideals of order. But the pairing also worked, for me, as a reminder of the political and economic realities that lurk behind every object that has found a home in a museum—and especially objects as vexed as gold coins. Think of the ships launched in their pursuit, the cities looted, the people subjugated. You wonder if the beauty of this stater was deliberately conceived to pull our attention away from all that. I propose a new term that Blas has conjured: Goldwashing.

We’ll have to see what she conjures on Monday. (Image courtesy Lisa Blas)

April 7, 2017
Lisa.Blas  parataxis  extra-illustration  gold.washing  Blake.Gopnik 
11 weeks ago
To Be a Genius, Think Like a 94-Year-Old
Pagan Kennedy. NYTimes / Sunday Review. April 7, 2017

on physicist John Goodenough

“Some of us are turtles; we crawl and struggle along, and we haven’t maybe figured it out by the time we’re 30. But the turtles have to keep on walking.” This crawl through life can be advantageous, he pointed out, particularly if you meander around through different fields, picking up clues as you go along. Dr. Goodenough started in physics and hopped sideways into chemistry and materials science, while also keeping his eye on the social and political trends that could drive a green economy. “You have to draw on a fair amount of experience in order to be able to put ideas together,” he said.
engineering  slow 
11 weeks ago
Revenge of the Independent Hardware Stores | Fast Forward | OZY
Joe P. Hasler. Ozy / The Daily Dose. March 20, 2017

Every year, Deloitte releases what it calls the Retail Volatility Index, which measures how much market share businesses gain and lose in key retail segments, including hardware. In its 2016 report, Deloitte noted the emergence of a conventional-wisdom-busting trend. After a century of consolidation and concentration in retail, “smaller, more nimble players are stealing share from larger, more traditional, at-scale retailers.”

As a strategy principal at Deloitte, Jacob Bruun-Jensen was one of the authors of the company’s 2016 index. He says the hardware retail market is emblematic of the new retail volatility. “These smaller players have found a niche and have been very successful in competing against the big national chains. It’s tied to this phenomenon of consumers seeking out local products or services and being willing to pay for that advice and that experience.”
11 weeks ago
Loci populum
Cambridge homes covered with Latin graffiti in protest at rising prices.
Vandalism of houses on market for £1.25m each points to discontent in area where average home costs 12 times salary

The Guardian. Press Association. 4 April 2017
latin  real.estate 
12 weeks ago
Amy Liptrot: ‘I swam in the cold ocean and dyed my hair a furious blue… I was moving upwards slowly’
The Guardian / Observer. 17 January 2017

Growing up in remote Orkney Amy Liptrot couldn’t wait to get away. But after 10 years in London, unhappy and drinking too much, she finally got sober and ‘washed up’ on her home island. It was the best thing she could have done…

good book.
12 weeks ago
Ticking Clocks: Erdoğan and Turkey’s Constitutional Referendum
Gareth H. Jenkins. The Turkey Analyst. March 31, 2017
Whatever the outcome, the Turkish constitutional referendum on April 16 will not resolve the country’s chronic domestic instability, heal its deepening social divisions, revive its flagging economy or end its growing international isolation. But it will shape both the nature of the further turbulence to come and the duration of what is already the final stage of the Erdoğan era.

12 weeks ago
How the return of traditional skills is boosting Italy's economy
Artisan revival proves a boon for sluggish economy that has unemployment rate of 12%
Angela Giuffrida. The Guardian. 1 April 2017

There aren’t any smartphones distracting the budding couturiers at the tailoring school run by Brioni, the venerable menswear company, in Penne, a medieval town nestled in the heart of Italy’s mountainous Abruzzo region.

Instead, their nimble fingers are delicately sewing stitches on to jacket sleeves. They are nurturing the skills that could lead to a job in a fashion house whose sleek suits have been worn by kings, presidents and 007s Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig in their roles as James Bond.

The teenagers are the lucky group of 16 to have made the cut for the latest four-year programme at Brioni’s Scuola Di Alta Sartoria (High School of Tailoring), which in recent years has seen an uptick in applications from young Italians keen to learn the trade.
Italy  craft  tailoring 
12 weeks ago
Alien intelligence: the extraordinary minds of octopuses and other cephalopods | Environment | The Guardian
After a startling encounter with a cuttlefish, Australian philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith set out to explore the mysterious lives of cephalopods. He was left asking: why do such smart, optimistic creatures live such a short time?

Elle Hunt. The Guardian. 28 March 2017
march 2017
How we made the typeface Comic Sans
‘The level of hatred was amazing and quite funny. I couldn’t believe people could get so worked up about a font’
Interviews by Ben Beaumont-Thomas. The Guardian / Art and Design / 28 March 2017
Vincent Connare, typographer
Tom Stevens, program manager, Microsoft


One program was called Microsoft Bob, which was designed to make computers more accessible to children. I booted it up and out walked this cartoon dog, talking with a speech bubble in Times New Roman. Dogs don’t talk in Times New Roman! Conceptually, it made no sense.

So I had an idea to make a comic-style text and started looking at Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns, graphic novels where the hand lettering was like a typeface. I could have scanned it in and copied the lettering, but that was unethical. Instead, I looked at various letters and tried to mimic them on screen. There were no sketches or studies – it was just me drawing with a mouse, deleting whatever was wrong.
march 2017
Her Story Meets His Story: Janet Bennett, Charles Kratka, and the LAX Murals
Louise Sandhaus. DesignObserver. 23 March 2017

After the book came out, I received an email from Janet Bennett, claiming to have designed those murals. She claimed that she designed them while working for Kratka, who was her supervisor and Head of Interiors at Pereira and Luckman (the architectural office responsible for the design of Los Angeles International Airport). She asked me to help establish her as the credited designer of the murals.
LAX  los.angeles 
march 2017
Colin Dexter (1930-2017)
Norman Colin Dexter, teacher and writer, born 29 September 1930; died 21 March 2017

Dennis Barker. The Guardian. 21 March 2017
(Dennis Barker died in 2015…)

He was teaching The Aeneid, Book II, when he began to feel that there was something going on that he knew nothing about.


see also
Inspector Morse creator Colin Dexter dead at 86
Val McDermid, Lee Child and other crime writers pay tribute to Dexter, who died at his Oxford home on Tuesday
Sian Cain. 21 March 2017

Inspector.Morse  Morse 
march 2017
Ren Hang, Provocative Chinese Photographer, Dies at 29
Ren Hang, Provocative Chinese Photographer, Dies at 29
NYTimes. March 3, 2017
march 2017
LLNL Atmospheric Nuclear Tests
LLNL Atmospheric Nuclear Tests
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
64 videos
The U.S. conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, with multiple cameras capturing each event at around 2,400 frames per second. These are the declassified films of tests conducted by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
march 2017
What goes into a surfboard? Foam, fibreglass and hard times | Sport | The Guardian
With a stroke of a rail, shaper Andrew Stump can tell if a board is right. It’s a skill honed in the face of financial risk, personal hardship and cut-throat competition

Russell Jackson. The Guardian. 17 March 2017

Australian shapers have since the 1960s ranked among the world’s best and most innovative, producing designs which have altered the entire course of surfing and redefined the sport’s technical limits. In the late 1960s, Australian Bob McTavish was at the forefront of the shortboard revolution. Its impact was to send surfers vertical. For the first time they could ride through tubes and had access to the full face of the wave, enabling them to carve away at its pockets.
surfing  craft 
march 2017
The ordinary affects of repair – Eurozine
The ordinary affects of repair
Francisco Martínez / Eurozine
16 March 2017
maintenance  repair 
march 2017
Pipe dreams: life on the road in pursuit of surfing glory
Pipe dreams Life on the road in pursuit of surfing glory in Australia
Special report: At the start of a new series on the world of surfing, we join the circuit to discover the stories of precocious youngsters and battleworn veterans trying to make their way in the sport they love
Life on the road in pursuit of surfing glory in Australia

Jonny Weeks. The Guardian. 12 March 2017
march 2017
Flecks of Extraterrestrial Dust, All Over the Roof - The New York Times
William J. Broad. NYTimes. March 10 2017

His book, “In Search of Stardust: Amazing Micro-Meteorites and Their Terrestrial Imposters,” due out in August, details the secret of his extraordinarily successful hunts. Its 150 pages and 1,500 photomicrographs, or photos taken through a microscope, tell how Mr. Larsen taught himself to distinguish cosmic dust from the minuscule contaminants that arise from roads, shingles, factories, roof tiles, construction sites, home insulation and holiday fireworks.

As his book puts it, “To pick out one extraterrestrial particle among billions of others requires knowledge both about what to look for and what to disregard.”
march 2017
Anne L. Middleton (1940–2016)
by Steven Justice.
The New Chaucer Society / News & Events/
In Memoriam:
Anne L. Middleton (18 July 1940–23 November 2016)

was a somewhat overwhelmed undergraduate in her Langland/Piers Plowman seminar, ca 1977.
march 2017
Nancy Willard, Prolific Children’s Book Author, Dies at 80 (1936-2017)
Sam Roberts, NYTImes March 6/10, 2017

and signs so spare

A Hardware Store as Proof of the Existence of God

I praise the brightness of hammers pointing east
like the steel woodpeckers of the future,
and dozens of hinges opening brass wings,
and six new rakes shyly fanning their toes,
and bins of hooks glittering into bees,

and a rack of wrenches like the long bones of horses,
and mailboxes sowing rows of silver chapels,
and a company of plungers waiting for God
to claim their thin legs in their big shoes
and put them on and walk away laughing.

In a world not perfect but not bad either
let there be glue, glaze, gum and grabs,
caulk also, and hooks, shackles, cables, and slips,
and signs so spare a child may read them,
Men, Women, In, Out, No Parking, Beware the Dog.

In the right hands, they can work wonders.

— Nancy Willard (1936-2017 *), from Swimming Lessons : New and Selected Poems (1996)

hardware.poetry  Nancy.Willard  hardware.lit 
march 2017
Outdoor swimming in Paris with the canal club
Photographer Alex Voyer and friends swim illegally in the city’s canals – mainly Canal de l’Ourcq – whether it’s day or night, summer or winter

These photographs first appeared on the Outdoor Swimming Society website
Alex Voyer
The Guardian. 9 March 2017
swimming  france 
march 2017
How much pee is in our swimming pools? New urine test reveals the truth | Science | The Guardian
How much pee is in our swimming pools? New urine test reveals the truth
Olympic swimmers admit to it and it seems many of the rest us are peeing in the water too, with a new scientific test finding up to 75 litres of urine in public pools

Hannah Devlin. The Guardian. Chemistry. 1 March 2017
swimming  swimming.pools  water 
march 2017
Get Out: the film that dares to reveal the horror of liberal racism in America
Get Out: the film that dares to reveal the horror of liberal racism in America
Jordan Peele’s critically acclaimed low-budget shocker became a surprise hit and showed viewers a terrifying look at the fractured myth of a post-racial US
Lanre Bakare. The Guardian. 28 February 2017
film  cinema  wanna.see 
march 2017
a university lecture was a performance of the act of thinking itself, not simply a transfer of information
Social media have become the new custodians of knowledge. This matters.
Chad Wellmon
23 February 2017

In his proposal for a new university in Berlin, written in 1809 and shared with von Humboldt, who was overseeing Prussian plans for such an institution, Fichte wrote that true learning and scholarship emerged out of a "love for the art of reason," a love most immediately visible in the charismatic authority of the university professor as he lectured to a rapt group of students.

For Fichte, a university lecture was a performance of the act of thinking itself, not simply a transfer of information from professor to student. (The German term for lecture, Vorlesung, literally means "to read before.") An excellent lecture was a function not only of the quality of arguments propounded or the evidence provided but also of the context in which these were presented. The vocation of the scholar-as-teacher, wrote Fichte, was to attend to the students immediately before him. His task was to "form, express, and clothe" reason in diverse ways so that individual students could engage it in a particular context. He had to be capable of thinking in "infinite forms" so that he could perform the act and art of thinking for his students, whom he knew and with whom he met weekly outside of the lecture hall for conversations. The lecture was an activity crafted for a particular time and had to be attuned to the needs, capacities, and knowledge of the given audience. Like the humanist teacher, the university professor had to know and love his students.

. . .

J.G.Fichte  learning  automating.trust  Chad.Wellmon 
february 2017
In a Walt Whitman Novel, Lost for 165 Years, Clues to ‘Leaves of Grass’
Jennifer Schuessler. NYTimes. February 20, 2017

beautifully told.


Today, we think of the radically expansive free verse of “Leaves of Grass,” with its wandering “I” who “contains multitudes,” as one of the fixed signposts in American literary history. But in his notebooks from the early 1850s, Mr. Turpin noted, Whitman was toying with other forms for his great work.

“You see him asking, Should it be a novel? Or a play, with thousands of people onstage, chanting in unison?” he said. “It’s amazing to think that ‘Leaves of Grass’ could have taken a different form entirely.”
february 2017
She Spent her Life Hunting for Lost Wallpaper
messynessy. February 3, 2017

I found another thing I wish I’d been born a few decades earlier for: vintage wallpaper hunting. Suzanne Lipschutz got there before everyone else. She was the first, the original crazy bohemian lady from New York who scoured the earth, from Paris flea market stalls to hardware stores in small town middle America, in search of forgotten wall coverings that nobody else wanted.
february 2017
What lies beneath the ice of our fascination with the North? | Aeon Essays
E R Truitt
is a medieval historian at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Her latest book is Medieval Robots: Mechanism, Magic, Nature, and Art (2015).
february 2017
Unbuilt Los Angeles: the city that might have been – in pictures | Cities | The Guardian
Unbuilt Los Angeles: the city that might have been – in pictures

From the offshore Santa Monica freeway to a mini Las Vegas with pyramids and the Parthenon, Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell look at the LA that never happened
Never Built Los Angeles is published by Metropolis Books
Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin
The Guardian. Cities / Unbuilt Cities. 9 February 2017
february 2017
Total recall: the people who never forget | Science | The Guardian
The long read
Total recall: the people who never forget
An extremely rare condition may transform our understanding of memory
Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
8 February 2017

highly superior autobiographical memory, or HSAM


Now 51, Price remembers the day of the week for every date since 1980; she remembers what she was doing, who she was with, where she was on each of these days. She can actively recall a memory of 20 years ago as easily as a memory of two days ago, but her memories are also triggered involuntarily.

It is, she says, like living with a split screen: on the left side is the present, on the right is a constantly rolling reel of memories, each one sparked by the appearance of present-day stimuli. With so many memories always at the ready, Price says, it can be maddening: virtually anything she sees or hears can be a potential trigger.
memory  HSAM 
february 2017
The ginseng web
Kevin Hartnett. The Boston Globe. August 25, 2016

Harvard historian Shigehisa Kuriyama tells ginseng’s story in an essay collected in a new book “The Botany of Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century.” The book examines how the growing global traffic in plants — for medical, economic, and scientific purposes — shaped colonial expansion in the 1700s.


At the time Joseph-François Lafitau discovered ginseng in Canada, the North American colonialists had a trade problem. They were hooked on tea from China and were hemorrhaging money to import it. Ginseng, which turned out to grow as far south as the present-day Carolinas, was the perfect solution.

“For Americans, [ginseng] funds their addiction to tea,” says Kuriyama. “It’s the one commodity Americans have that the Chinese really wanted.”

This trade dynamic flourished as the 18th century went on: When the first American ship sailed to China under the US flag, its hold was full of ginseng and it brought back mainly tea.

Things weren’t so easy for another tea-addicted country, however: Britain. The British loved tea even more than the Americans and sent huge sums of silver to China to fund their habit. They didn’t have ginseng, so they went looking for another crop to swap and settled perniciously on opium.
ginseng  botany  opium 
february 2017
Long-lost continent found submerged deep under Indian Ocean | New Scientist
Mauritius sits on part of an ancient continent
Alice Klein. The New Scientist. 31 January 2017
february 2017
Ephemera Society of America / ESA 37
ESA 37 – American Ingenuity: What’s the Big Idea?
Please join us for our 37th annual conference on March 16–19, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.


"Sparking the Imagination" Social & Cultural Antecedents of the Electromagnetic Telegraph
Ephemera unabashedly addresses the dynamics of change, anticipating and shaping innovation. Examining ephemera
such as letters, printed circulars, advertising prints, etc. from the 1830s helps set the stage for Samuel Finley Breese
Morse, called the "American Leonardo," who was not the sole inventor of the electromagnetic telegraph, but who
retains a central place in U.S. telegraph history. Ephemera shows the cultural readiness for electrical communication
- the annihilation of space and time first expressed as icon, metaphor and satire before becoming a reality.
Diane DeBlois & Robert Dalton Harris, proprietors of aGatherin', are charter members of The Ephemera Society of America. They were awarded the Maurice Rickards medal in 2008, and the American Philatelic Society's
Luff Award for Research in 2016. They wrote the section on telegraph history for volume 3 of the
American Stampless Cover Catalogue in 1993 (that mapped the development of all telegraph lines to the Western Union amalgamation). In 1994, The Ephemera Society published their monograph:
An Atlantic Telegraph, The Transcendental Cable.
telegraphy  ephemera  conferences 
january 2017
Making a splash: cold water swimming | Life and style | The Guardian
The swimming blog
Making a splash: cold water swimming
There’s something for everyone at the cold water swimming championships at the lido in Tooting, south London: medals for the fastest, an award for the best hat and a mass jump-in in aid of Crisis, the homelessness charity
by Teri Pengilley (photos) and Jenny Landreth (words)
The Guardian. 30 January 2017
january 2017
'I was weak, despairing, confused': did writing a novel make me ill?
'I was weak, despairing, confused': did writing a novel make me ill?
It started with a bottomless tiredness, and soon novelist Sarah Perry was unable to function. Had she brought it all on herself?

Sarah Perry
The Guardian. 28 January 2017
Sarah.Perry  illness  kindness 
january 2017
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