March 25th, 2010

no, Time! thou shalt not jest that I do knit


I need to get a job.

Check out more images of this Father Time doll and how I made it, by viewing the full entry below. I’m particularly proud of the solution I found for his skull.

Read the rest of this entry »

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March 4th, 2010

123

Shakespeare’s Sonnet CXXIII:

No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change:
Thy pyramids built up with newer might
To me are nothing novel, nothing strange;
They are but dressings of a former sight.
Our dates are brief, and therefore we admire
What thou dost foist upon us that is old,
And rather make them born to our desire
Than think that we before have heard them told.
Thy registers and thee I both defy,
Not wondering at the present nor the past,
For thy records and what we see doth lie,
Made more or less by thy continual haste.
This I do vow and this shall ever be;
I will be true, despite thy scythe and thee.

March 3rd, 2010

the experiencing self vs. the remembering self

Widely regarded as the world’s most influential living psychologist, Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel in Economics for his pioneering work in behavioral economics.

Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our “experiencing selves” and our “remembering selves” perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy — and our own self-awareness.

From TED Talks 2010

February 11th, 2010

do you run like clockwork?

500px-Biological_clock_human

Fun diagram from Wikipedia:

Biological clock affects the daily rhythm of many physiological processes. This diagram depicts the circadian patterns typical of someone who rises early in morning, eats lunch around noon, and sleeps at night (10 p.m.). Although circadian rhythms tend to be synchronized with cycles of light and dark, other factors – such as ambient temperature, meal times, stress and exercise – can influence the timing as well.

December 17th, 2009

and now back to our home…

The American Museum of Natural History has prepared a video in the vein of Charles & Ray Eames’ Powers of Ten which lets you see our planet’s size relative to the universe. The Museum’s is scientifically accurate — based on data compiled by their astrophysicists.

It’s nice to watch in full screen (at high quality, if your computer can handle it [mine can’t!]).

(via kottke)

November 24th, 2009

Night Flight

cfde06b36461f49e_landing
Actress Sue Lyon & actor Richard Burton floating on their backs during filming
of motion picture “The Night of the Iguana.” Photo: Gjon Mili, LIFE.

In this poem George Bilgere describes a sensation I find very comforting: the feeling of being insulated — separated — from time, which one experiences when suspended in water, or when in the fuselage of an aeroplane surrounded by miles of sky .

I am doing laps at night, alone
In the indoor pool. Outside
It is snowing, but I am warm
And weightless, suspended and out
Of time like a fly in amber.

She is thousands of miles
From here, and miles above me,
Ghosting the stratosphere,
Heading from New York to London.
Though it is late, even
At that height, I know her light
Is on, her window a square
Of gold as she reads mysteries
Above the Atlantic. I watch

The line of black tile on the pool’s
Floor, leading me down the lane.
If she looks down by moonlight,
Under a clear sky, she will see
Black water. She will see me
Swimming distantly, moving far
From shore, suspended with her
In flight through the wide gulf
As we swim toward land together.

The poem is called Night Flight and I found it via American poet Ted Kooser‘s blog, American life in poetry.

October 12th, 2009

mother nature sets our bedtime

And she knows that she knows better (4 billion years of experience can make one very cocksure), so you needn’t bother answering back.

Foster and Kreitzman argue that modern society “is in conflict with our basic biology”. Electric lights turn night into day and central heating transforms our homes into oases of summer warmth in bleak midwinter. When we feel sleepy we don’t listen to our bodies. Instead we drink another cup of coffee, roll down the car window and “kid ourselves that we can beat a few billion years of evolution.”

Guilty as charged, I should be asleep but technology has encouraged a rebellion against dear Mother Nature. The above is from PD Smith’s review of Rhythms of Life at the independent.

Smith’s personal blog is incidentally very attractive. Nice design by Jean-Michel Dentand.

October 7th, 2009

a glorious dawn

A tribute to Carl Sagan and Steven Hawking by colorpulse:

It turns out that autotuning can make clever people tuneful as well.

October 7th, 2009

ipod, check; coins, check; phone, check; keys, check;

Candies for cuties,… Oh, blast, I forgot my candies for cuties.

September 3rd, 2009

In My Room (1943)

Shorpy‘s seemingly inexhaustible source of high quality, high definition, vintage photographs from all eras of American history never ceases to fascinate and impress me.

Here’s a terrific shot from 1943 of a teenage girl relaxing in her bedroom after a day of work in a war factory:

chill1

hhh

And below that is one from 1863!

July 1863. “Gettysburg, Pa. Three captured Confederate soldiers, likely from Louisiana, pose for Mathew Brady on Seminary Ridge following the Battle of Gettysburg.” Wet plate glass negative, half of stereograph pair.

Terrific.

August 14th, 2009

Hubble Ultra Deep Field

August 9th, 2009

Frank O’Hara

I bought a massive tome of contemporary American poetry from a secondhand bookstore, for 3 dollars.

I like this one by Frank O’Hara. Especially the last five lines.

To John Ashbery

I can’t believe there’s not
another world where we will sit
and read new poems to each other
high on a mountain in the wind.
You can be Tu Fu, I’ll be Po Chu-i
and the Monkey Lady’ll be in the moon,
smiling at our ill-fitting heads
as we watch snow settle on a twig.
Or shall we be really gone? this
is not the grass I saw in my youth!
and if the moon, when it rises
tonight, is empty —a bad sign,
meaning ‘You go, like the blossoms.’

July 25th, 2009

Arcturus is watching Little House on the Prairie

This map displays the progress of Earth’s tv transmissions as they have disseminated throughout the galaxy to date. Neato! (via kottke)

Posted in Ha!, Space, Time | No Comments »
June 16th, 2009

original syn

The New York Times has an article attempting to plot our progress to date in working out the puzzle of life’s origins on Earth.

So little fossil evidence has been found to explain the origins of life on Earth that scientists, in order to figure out how life may have begun, are taking the approach of attempting to recreate the conditions that might make this spontaneous synthesis of living cells possible. But there are many theories as to what these conditions might have been.

The three researchers, Jack W. Szostak, David P. Bartel and P. Luigi Luisi, published a somewhat adventurous manifesto in Nature in 2001, declaring that the way to make a synthetic cell was to get a protocell and a genetic molecule to grow and divide in parallel, with the molecules being encapsulated in the cell. If the molecules gave the cell a survival advantage over other cells, the outcome would be “a sustainable, autonomously replicating system, capable of Darwinian evolution,” they wrote.

“It would be truly alive,” they added.


Read more

June 11th, 2009

geological time

geotime

Ebonmuse of Daylight Atheism wrote a wonderful meditation on.. a rock. Well it’s much more than a rock, as he explains beautifully. It represents the unimaginable stretch of time before us, and stands as an omen for our future.

Here’s the introduction:

It was out in the open with no ropes or glass around it, inviting visitors to touch it. I brushed a hand across its polished surface, which was as smooth and cool as a sheet of glass. Nothing about that touch hinted at the stone’s age or history; yet it had traveled down immense vistas of time to come here, to our era, so that I could see and touch it on that day. And in the moment of that touch, I knew, I as a modern Homo sapien was briefly reunited with predecessors ancient beyond imagining, perhaps some that date back almost to the origin of life on Earth itself.

The curious, gorgeously colored strata of this stone are called banded iron formations. The dark bands are layers of metallic iron oxide compounds such as magnetite and hematite, while the reddish layers are silica-rich quartz minerals like chert, jasper and flint. Banded iron formations occur almost exclusively in very ancient rocks, and are common in strata dating to between 2.5 billion and 1.8 billion years ago.

Read more at his blog

June 6th, 2009

moderation, intelligence and sharing

Home is an important, sobering film, but it’s also beautiful and optimistic. It’s available on YouTube in its entirety, in high definition, for free.

It is directed by the renowned aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, which affords the film a powerfully god-like perspective, albeit one weakened by a rather uninspiring narration; the information is good, but the diction is clichéd and the delivery flawed (some words are mispronounced by the narrator, hardly in-keeping with a god-like voice, and she often sounds unenthusiastic and disengaged, like she isn’t thinking about what she’s saying — give me David Attenborough or Dr. Ian Stewart!).

The effect of Bertrand’s aerial perspective is that we get to take a step back — avoiding sentimental human detours for the most part — and consider the earth as one big organism. Everything is linked, as the narrator reminds us constantly.

The general message to take home is that although our planet is in jeopardy, we can save it through “moderation, intelligence and sharing”.

There have been other films like this. This film stays quite general and factual in its approach however, choosing not to hammer away at any one specific point — simply letting the powerful images and facts do the work. The plain facts and footage it offers on meat production, for example, — without rhetoric demanding people stop eating meat — should be enough to convey to people the severity of the impact of humanity’s meat-fixation. That particular section was quite powerful, I thought, as that particular environmental issue has generally been skirted recently, as if it were not even an issue worth considering, or as if there were no sensitive way to broach the topic to a world of meat-lovers.

Cheers to Aengus who aroused my attention to this.

June 6th, 2009

Protected: a memory is gifted

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May 31st, 2009

Sebald’s last interview

From 2001:

Sebald: The moral backbone of literature is about that whole question of memory. To my mind it seems clear that those who have no memory have the much greater chance to lead happy lives. But it is something you cannot possibly escape: your psychological make-up is such that you are inclined to look back over your shoulder. Memory, even if you repress it, will come back at you and it will shape your life. Without memories there wouldn’t be any writing: the specific weight an image or phrase needs to get across to the reader can only come from things remembered – not from yesterday but from a long time ago.

More (Guardian)






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