Friday, October 30, 2020

Happy Halloween

Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

― William Shakespeare


Angel Of The Morning

Get ready for a transitory weekend with Chip Taylor. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Cooking snake soup

Two stylishly dressed Cambodian sisters prepare, cook and eat some snake soup. There is no translated captioning with the video. Their YouTube site Natural Life TV has an enormous number of videos. If this is the same group they got in trouble a few years ago for skinning and eating some endangered species.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

The needs of others

I feel strangely free at such times. To behave properly is to be always courteous, always clever, and subtle and elegant. But now, when I am so alone, I do not have to be any of these things.

For this moment, I am wholly myself, unshaped by the needs of others, by their dreams or expectations or sensibilities.

But I am also lonely. With no one to shape me, who stands here, watching the moon, or the stars, or the clouds?

― Kij Johnson


Friday, October 23, 2020

Two Of Us

Get ready for a rambling weekend with Runaway Orchestra featuring Sophie Madeleine. 


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Kawanabe Kyōsai's night demons

Click any image to enlarge

Living in the mid 19th century Kawanabe Kyōsai was a Japanese artist during the period when the Country began to transform from a feudal to a modern state. Along with paintings, he created a large number of caricatures, many of them political in nature. These images, and those after the jump, are a series of his night demons images

Kawanabe Kyōsai

Monday, October 12, 2020

Reflections on Columbus Day

Christopher Columbus

As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts. And so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very serviceable. - Christopher Columbus


Knowledge is not simply another commodity. On the contrary. Knowledge is never used up. It increases by diffusion and grows by dispersion. - Daniel J. Boorstin

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Walking in Norilsk, Siberia

 Situated above the Arctic Circle and with a population of ~175,000 Norilsk is the northern most city of 100,000 or more. The city exists because of large nickel deposits in the area. The mining of the nickel has led to high levels of pollution in the city and surrounding areas.

This video was filmed in the spring. It is raining a bit, and it looks like there is some slush from the melting snow. The city is rather grim looking. The Soviet style block apartments buildings are intentional, they help cut down on the wind cutting through the city.


Friday, October 09, 2020

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Illustrations by Ernst Haeckel

Click any image to enlarge

Ernst Haeckel was a 19th century zoologist. He was an early proponent of Darwinism. However, he did blend elements of Lamarkism into his understanding of natural selection. He also adhered to the idea of the Great Chain of Being. With that in mind he argued against a single human proto-ancestor, and instead argued that each race evolved independently. I'm sure you can guess which race occupied the upper rung in his view of the Chain of Being. Aside from those dodgy views he did offer significant contributions to the science of biology.

These are drawing he did as a naturalist. These, and those after the jump, are from PICRYL's Ernst Haeckel collection. There are many more at that link.

Ernst Haeckel

Monday, October 05, 2020

Clearing the tracks after a derailment

On September 15th of this year a Union Pacific train derailed. This is a time-lapse of the effort to clear the tracks. The two cranes working in tandem to lift the cars and engines is a pretty amazing feat of coordination.


Saturday, October 03, 2020

Math and viewing

Statue of Liberty viewed from her torch

Thomasina: Every week I plot your equations dot for dot, x’s against y’s in all manner of algebraical relation, and every week they draw themselves as commonplace geometry, as if the world of forms were nothing but arcs and angles. God’s truth, Septimus, if there is an equation for a curve like a bell, there must be an equation for one like a bluebell, and if a bluebell, why not a rose? Do we believe nature is written in numbers?

Septimus: We do.

Thomasina: Then why do your shapes describe only the shapes of manufacture?

Septimus: I do not know.

Thomasina: Armed thus, God could only make a cabinet.

— Tom Stoppard, from the play, Acadia (1993), Scene 3, 37


Friday, October 02, 2020

Mad World

 Get ready to cry in your beer this weekend with Mike Massé and Jeff Hall.