Letter of Recommendation: The Recordings of Pauline Oliveros - The New York Times
Claire-Louise Bennett. NYTimes Magazine. 9/12 February 2017

an appreciation.
2 days 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 days 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 
12 days 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 
12 days 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 
13 days 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 
18 days 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 
18 days 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 
18 days 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.”
19 days 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 
21 days 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.
23 days 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.

24 days 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 
24 days 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
28 days ago
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.
28 days ago
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 
4 weeks ago
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 
5 weeks ago
Ren Hang, Provocative Chinese Photographer, Dies at 29
Ren Hang, Provocative Chinese Photographer, Dies at 29
NYTimes. March 3, 2017
5 weeks ago
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.
5 weeks ago
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 
5 weeks ago
The ordinary affects of repair – Eurozine
The ordinary affects of repair
Francisco Martínez / Eurozine
16 March 2017
maintenance  repair 
5 weeks ago
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
6 weeks ago
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.”
6 weeks ago
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.
6 weeks ago
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 
6 weeks ago
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 
6 weeks ago
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 
7 weeks ago
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 
8 weeks ago
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 
8 weeks ago
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.”
9 weeks ago
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.
9 weeks ago
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).
10 weeks ago
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
10 weeks ago
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 
10 weeks ago
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 
11 weeks ago
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
12 weeks ago
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 
12 weeks ago
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
12 weeks ago
'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 
12 weeks ago
Some memories of my grandmother
Some memories of my grandmother
Slightly adapted from a newsletter at the end of 2015. —@vruba, November 2016.

was going backwards. What matters first about the Weimar times is what they were like to live inside. That’s not all that matters, but nothing else matters if that doesn’t. We can’t see into a person’s life through copula sentences: “The Weimar period was materially difficult but intellectually productive”, “Some Allied bombings were ethically troubling”, “The midcentury Hollywood animation establishment was sexist”. Those don’t begin. But maybe: Feeding the goat with dandelions picked from the sidewalks of Lichterfelde. The way the raining city-ashes smelled. That Betty Brenon hired only women at her studio so they could get work done. I can only see Grandma starting with what she saw.
From there, it’s obvious that she did not let go, was not subsumed into the history textbook subheds of the century; she was always moving under her own power, in catastrophies and in merely imperfect systems. And so was everyone. Grandma was special in many ways, but point to anyone and so are they. Some of us are lucky enough to get to a place where our work can accrete, where we can build a piece of the world we want. Many of us are not. War is only one of the forces that can destroy a person’s chances, or a generation’s work, or a generation. The weight of history is intolerable, an ocean-trench pressure, if we try to take it as a weight. Talking with Grandma helped me take it as a liquid, something that we can equalize against without being crushed, something whose unintelligible mass we can, with luck, push through and move within.
january 2017
Listening as Activism: The “Sonic Meditations” of Pauline Oliveros - The New Yorker
“I began to retreat. I didn’t want to play concerts. I began to turn inward.” She started singing and playing long, extended drones on her accordion, spending nearly a year on a single note, an A."

Kerry O'Brien. The New Yorker. December 9. 2016
january 2017
‘I’m Nobody’? Not a Chance, Emily Dickinson
Holland Cotter. NYTimes. January 19-20, 2017
exhibit at The Morgan, today through May 21.
january 2017
Listen with your eyes: one in five of us may 'hear' flashes of light | Science | The Guardian
Listen with your eyes: one in five of us may 'hear' flashes of light
A surprising number of people experience a form of sensory cross wiring in which light flashes and visual movements are ‘heard’, research finds

Hannah Devlin. The Guardian. Neuroscience. 17 January 2017

several links to guardian articles on synaesthesia.


More florid forms of synaesthesia, in which disparate sensory experiences are blended, are found in only about 2–4% of the population. To a synaesthete, the number seven might appear red, or the name Wesley might “taste” like boiled cabbage, for instance.

The latest work – only the second published on the phenomenon – suggests that many more of us experience a less intrusive version of the condition in which visual movements or flashes are accompanied by an internal soundtrack of hums, buzzes or swooshes. Since movements are very frequently accompanied by sounds in everyday life, the effect is likely to be barely discernible.
ae  synaesthesia  neuroscience 
january 2017
Harvard Design Magazine: Seeing the Forest for the Trees
Seeing the Forest for the Trees
Hui Wang, Yuko Tsunetsugu, Julia Kane Africa
Harvard Design Magazine No. 40 (S/S 2015) / Well, Well, Well / Artifact

In Japan, strands of historical silviculture and more recent scientific inquiry—along with traditions of painting, poetry, and landscape design—are visible in the modern practice of shinrin-yoku, “forest bathing,” wherein walking in natural landscapes is thought to improve health. Today, shinrin-yoku is practiced at 52 Forest Therapy Bases, with as many as 100 ultimately envisioned across the archipelago.
shinrin-yoku  trees  silva  japan 
january 2017
Pity the sad legacy of Barack Obama | Cornel West | Opinion | The Guardian
Pity the sad legacy of Barack Obama
Cornel West
The Guardian. 9 January 2017

Our hope and change candidate fell short time and time again. Obama cheerleaders who refused to make him accountable bear some responsibility
politics  Cornell.West 
january 2017
The holy mountain: monks of Mount Athos
The holy mountain: monks of Mount Athos – photo essay
Mount Athos is the spiritual capital of the Orthodox Christian world, consisting of 20 monasteries and approximately 2,000 monks. Photographer Rick Findler visited the oldest surviving monastic community in the world
by Rick Findler and Matt Fidler
Thursday 5 January 2017
Mount.Athos  monasticism 
january 2017
I’m on the same page as the ‘bookseller from hell’. Here’s why | Stephen Moss | Opinion | The Guardian
I’m on the same page as the ‘bookseller from hell’. Here’s why
By charging customers to browse in his shop, Steve Bloom is fighting back against online shopping with the traditional weapon of his trade – misanthropy
Stephen Moss. The Guardian. 5 January 2017
The book dealer Driff Field (aka Drif, Driffield and Dryfield) used to publish a marvellous guide to secondhand bookshops – when they were numerous across the UK. Most of those bookshops have now disappeared – and Driff’s guide ceased publication in the mid-1990s after six treasurable editions. All killed by the wretched internet. Driff understood secondhand booksellers exactly: they were generally men of a certain age who had been disappointed in life. Books were their only solace – friends who never let you down.

The abbreviations Drif uses in his guides are inspired. FARTS: “Follows around recommending the stock.” GOB: “Grand old bore.” WYLAH: “Watches you like a hawk.” “WEBCOC: “Was expecting a better class of customer.” His summings up are magisterial: “V. erratic but will answer if you ring bell. FARTS. Rumoured to be closing down.” He is especially good on booksellers who don’t actually want to part with their stock. The books are their friends, remember. Why should they sell them to an oik like you?

Mr Bloom is one of the last, honourable remnants of this dying breed.
book.selling  book.sellers  Drif 
january 2017
The Canada experiment: is this the world's first 'postnational' country? | Charles Foran | World news | The Guardian
The Canada experiment: is this the world's first 'postnational' country?
When Justin Trudeau said ‘there is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada’, he was articulating a uniquely Canadian philosophy that some find bewildering, even reckless – but could represent a radical new model of nationhood

Charles Foran. The Guardian. 4 January 2017
january 2017
How Technology Helped Emilie Gossiaux Overcome Blindness to Rediscover Her Process :: Tech :: Features :: Paste
An Artist: How Technology Helped Emilie Gossiaux Overcome Blindness to Rediscover Her Process
Daniel Lumpkin. Paste Magazine. September 3, 2015
AR  XL  brainport  Emilie.Gossiaux 
january 2017
folds - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
Alan Jacobs on Pynchon's Mason and Dixon (and V).
beautiful and rich essay.
3 January 2017
thomas.pynchon  topology  fold  ayjay 
january 2017
Survival of the … Noblest? | Literary Review of Canada
Lev Bratishenko, review of Peter Dauvergne. Environmentalism of the Rich.

Dauvergne does not pay sufficient attention to the political dimension or its history. Western environmentalism originated in 19th-century nature conservation movements linked to aristocratic pleasures of (owning) the land. It smelled luxurious from the beginning, and it was always a political tool. The first Canadian national park, Banff, was created to support a burgeoning railway tourism industry, and First Nations were banned. The idea that you might live in a place by engaging its ecosystem without claiming dominance over it has never been central to western environmentalism. It is only more recently, as part of a global resurgence in indigenous cultures, that such ideas are being more widely discussed and experimentally applied. A former national park in New Zealand, Te Urewera, was recently given legal status as a person, and although such strategies have potential to transform our relationships with nature, they do not appear in this book.


Any criticism of mainstream environmentalism, but especially one that looks for other ways forward, has to consider the existing ecology of alternatives and antagonists. Opposition to environmentalism in North America, for example, reflects the movement’s history by clustering around poles of “the government can’t tell me what to do” and “jobs are more important,” neither of which are traditional concerns of the upper classes. Recently, Nathaniel Rich wrote on Arlie Russell Hochschild in the New York Review of Books, and I was struck by her metaphor for the political problem. Imagine the American Dream as a long line of people (with the Tea Partiers-Trumpers somewhere in the middle) trudging toward success and dignity just beyond the hill; the decline of blue-collar employment brings the line to a halt, and then, in Rich’s ­paraphrase:
An even greater indignity follows: people begin cutting them in line. Many are those who had long stood behind them—blacks, women, immigrants, even Syrian refugees, all now aided by the federal government. Next an even more astonishing figure jumps ahead of them: a brown pelican … Thanks to environmental protections, it is granted higher social status than, say, an oil rig worker.

january 2017
Excerpt: Strike/Slip

Eventually water,
having been possessed by every verb —
been rush been drip been
geyser eddy fountain rapid drunk
evaporated frozen pissed
transpired — will fall
into itself and sit.
Pond. Things touch
or splash down and it
takes them in — pollen, heron, leaves, larvae, greater
and lesser scaup — nothing declined,
nothing carried briskly off to form
alluvium somewhere else. Pond gazes
into sky religiously but also
gathers in its edge, reflecting cattails, alders,
reed beds and behind them, ranged
like taller children in the grade four photo,
conifers and birch. All of them inverted, carried
deeper into sepia, we might as well say
pondered. For pond is not pool,
whose clarity is edgeless and whose emptiness,
beloved by poets and the moon, permits us
to imagine life without the accident-
prone plumbing of its ecosystems. No,
the pause of pond is gravid and its wealth
a naturally occurring soup. It thickens up
with spawn and algae, while,
on its surface, stirred by every
whim of wind, it translates air as texture —
mottled, moiré, pleated, shirred or
seersuckered in that momentary ecstasy from which
impressionism, like a bridesmaid, steps. When it rains
it winks, then puckers up all over, then,
moving two more inches into metamorphosis,
shudders into pelt.
Suppose Narcissus
were to find a nice brown pond
to gaze in: would the course of self-love
run so smooth with that exquisite face
rendered in bruin undertone,
shaken, and floated in the murk
between the deep sky and the ooze?
Dan.McKay  pond 
january 2017
Art That’s Disposable, but by No Means Throwaway
James Barron. NYTimes/Region. December 27-28, 2016

Ron Barron, 78, creates art out of trash that he plucks from the streets of New York City. He mails his finds home to Ohio, where he places them on a scanner in his studio and makes what are essentially large-scale prints., 78, creates art out of trash that he plucks from the streets of New York City. He mails his finds home to Ohio, where he places them on a scanner in his studio and makes what are essentially large-scale prints.
december 2016
Eye Magazine | Blog | Ghosts of designbots yet to come
Ghosts of designbots yet to come

Automated graphic design and the rise of robot creatives – Francisco Laranjo files a critical report from the perspective of Christmas 2025

Eye. 21 December 2016
design.futures  design.bots  216S17 
december 2016
Bionic legs and smart slacks: exoskeletons that could enhance us all
Half full: solutions, innovations, answers
Bionic legs and smart slacks: exoskeletons that could enhance us all
There are tantalising signs that as well as aiding rehabilitation, devices could soon help humans run faster and jump higher

Nicola Davis. The Guardian. 25 December 2016
assistive.technology  adaptive.technology 
december 2016
Becoming Invisible: An Interview with Mary Ruefle
Caitlin Youngquist. The Paris Review. December 12, 2016
december 2016
‘I’m Prejudiced,’ He Said. Then We Kept Talking.
Heather C. McGhee. NYTimes. December 10-11, 2016

“I’m a white male,” said the caller, who identified himself as Garry from North Carolina. “And I’m prejudiced.”

As a black leader often in the media, I have withstood my share of racist rants, so I braced myself. But what I heard was fear — of black people and the crime he sees on the news — not anger.

“What can I do to change?” he asked. “To be a better American?”
december 2016
Inside the 21st-Century Craze for Redesigning Everything
Rob Walker
"Make-over Mania : Inside the tech-inspired 21st-century craze for redesigning everything"
NYTimes Magazine (13 November 2016).
design  re.design  Rob.Walker  405F16 
november 2016
How Xerox Invented the Copier and Artists Pushed It To Its Limits | Atlas Obscura
Ernie Smith. Atlas Obscura. November 21, 2016

xerography (electrically-charged toner, and heat)
carbon paper
hectographs (gelatin)
ditto machines (spirit duplicators)
mimeo  405F16 
november 2016
About - Voyant Tools Help
Voyant Tools is a web-based text reading and analysis environment. It is a scholarly project that is designed to facilitate reading and interpretive practices for digital humanities students and scholars as well as for the general public.

What you can do with Voyant:

Use it to learn how computers-assisted analysis works. Check out our examples that show you how to do real academic tasks with Voyant.
Use it to study texts that you find on the web or texts that you have carefully edited and have on your computer.
Use it to add functionality to your online collections, journals, blogs or web sites so others can see through your texts with analytical tools.
Use it to add interactive evidence to your essays that you publish online. Add interactive panels right into your research essays (if they can be published online) so your readers can recapitulate your results.
Use it to develop your own tools using our functionality and code.
tools  voyant 
november 2016
$40bn to save Jakarta: the story of the Great Garuda | Cities | The Guardian
Guardian Jakarta live
$40bn to save Jakarta: the story of the Great Garuda
Forget Venice. The fastest-sinking city is the Indonesian capital, parts of which are dropping at 25cm a year. Can an outlandish plan for a giant seawall and luxury waterworld city in the shape of a mythical bird save Jakarta from drowning?

Philip Sherwell. The Guardian. 22 November 2016
Indonesia  Jakarta 
november 2016
Anni Albers: Connections | Wellesley College
Anni Albers: Connections
Sep 28 2016 - Dec 18 2016

In 1984, textile designer and printmaker Anni Albers published Connections—a set of nine silkscreens that evoke pivotal moments in her prolific career, by then spanning nearly six decades. Reflecting on her life as a designer, she chose motifs for the prints based on her work from particular years: two from the 1920s, when Albers was at the Bauhaus and met her life-long partner and later husband Josef; two from the 1940s, when the couple taught at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina after having fled Nazi Germany; three from the late 1950s to the early ‘70s, after they resettled in Orange, Connecticut and Josef served as Yale University’s Chair of the Department of Design; and two from the early 1980s, after Josef’s death. This exhibition pairs the Davis Museum’s exquisite example of this silkscreen portfolio—an acquisition made in the past year—with Albers’ work from each era, tracing the development of her patterns from sketches on graph paper to gouache maquettes. Preparatory works on paper are paired with fabric swatches and remnants manufactured by commercial textile producers,
Anni.Albers  exhibitions 
november 2016
Metamaterial (wikipedia)
a material engineered to have a property that is not found in nature.[3] They are made from assemblies of multiple elements fashioned from composite materials such as metals or plastics. The materials are usually arranged in repeating patterns, at scales that are smaller than the wavelengths of the phenomena they influence. Metamaterials derive their properties not from the properties of the base materials, but from their newly designed structures.
november 2016
Eve Babitz: return of the LA woman
Andrew Male. The Guardian (of all places). 8 November 2016
eve.babitz  los.angeles 
november 2016
Spiritual blackout in America: Election 2016
Cornel West. The Boston Globe. November 3, 2016

THE MOST FRIGHTENING feature of the civic melancholia in present-day America is the relative collapse of integrity, honesty, and decency — an undeniable spiritual blackout of grand proportions. The sad spectacle of the presidential election is no surprise. Rather, the neofascist catastrophe called Donald Trump and the neoliberal disaster named Hillary Clinton are predictable symbols of our spiritual blackout. Trump dislodged an inert conservative establishment by unleashing an ugly contempt for liberal elites and vulnerable citizens of color — and the mainstream media followed every performance (even his tweets!) for financial gain. Clinton laid bare a dishonest liberal establishment that was unfair to Bernie Sanders and obsessed with winning at any cost — and the mainstream media selectively weighed in for pecuniary ends.

In short, the rule of Big Money and its attendant culture of cupidity and mendacity have led to our grand moment of spiritual blackout. The founder of Western philosophy, Plato, foresaw this scenario.…

The same self-righteous neoliberal soulcraft of smartness, dollars, and bombs lands us even deeper in our spiritual blackout. Instead we need a democratic soulcraft of wisdom, justice, and peace — the dreams of courageous freedom fighters like Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Joshua Heschel, Edward Said, and Dorothy Day. These dreams now lie dormant at this bleak moment, but spiritual and democratic awakenings are afoot among the ripe ones, especially those in the younger generation.
Cornel.West  civic.melancholia  politics 
november 2016
Anne Boyer. The Miserablist
Anne Boyer. The Miserablist
The White Review. November 2016
november 2016
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