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Thursday, 30 June 2011

left, right and wrong

Painting: by René Magritte

"Flash back three or four billion years -- Earth is a hot, dry and lifeless place. All is still. Without warning, a meteor slams into the desert plains at over ten thousand miles per hour. With it, this violent collision may have planted the chemical seeds of life on Earth. [...] 'These meteorites were bringing in what I call the "seeds of chirality,"' stated Breslow. 'If you have a universe that was just the mirror image of the one we know about, then in fact, presumably it would have right-handed amino acids. That's why I'm only half kidding when I say there is a guy on the other side of the universe with his heart on the right hand side.'" — Science Daily

"Biochemistry is the story of shapes, and this is its strange plot twist. Lots of molecules come in multiple conformations -- sticking together the same atoms can sometimes yield different three-dimensional structures that are mirror images of each other, a property called chirality. Indeed, most of the basic molecules of life, from the nucleic acids of the genome to the amino acids of the proteins, have mirror-image versions. And all cells have enzymes called isomerases, which flip certain molecules into their mirror versions. But for some reason, in the machinery of living things on Earth, one side of the mirror remains almost wholly unused.
"[...] create a life-form that runs on an operating system different from our own, based on mirror-image versions of Earthly proteins and DNA. Let these alien cells grow and mutate, and see how they survive. If it worked, those new cells — Church called them 'mirror life' — could answer one of the deepest questions about the origin of life, not just here on Earth but everywhere in the universe." — John Bohannon, Wired UK

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

i am a camera obscura

Mirror Spock and Mirror Kirk from: Cool Toy Review

"There was also a woman who flew into a jealous rage every time she caught sight of her own reflection, believing this “other woman” was trying to lure her husband away from her. Her husband eventually covered every reflective surface in the house in an effort to keep her from hurting herself. Oddly enough, she had no problem recognizing herself in the mirror of her makeup compact, but anything larger resulted in an assault on the imaginary impostor."
— Gerry Matlack, Damn Interesting

"When we look in the mirror, we are forever seeing a projection. As Lacan writes, the ego we access through the mirror 'is a product of misunderstanding, a false recognition.' I’ve heard some women say mirror abstinence would rob them of a hard-won acceptance of their appearance, and I wouldn’t want to diminish that. But if what the mirror gives us is imagined, I wonder how far its affirmation can take any of us." — Autumn Whitefield-Madrano, The New Inquiry

Monday, 27 June 2011

and the two shall become one... addendum

Top photo: U.S. Marshal's Service

"Lawyers for the Tucson shooting rampage suspect [Jared Loughner] say federal prison officials have decided to forcibly give him anti-psychotic drugs."— Huffington Post

See earlier post about facial asymmetry...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

family inc. (no coloreds)

Cover of LIFE, January 1962

"After the Second World War, converting back to the peacetime economy meant also reestablishing the dominance of the mostly white men coming home from service. The nuclear family was promoted as the fundamental social and economic unit, tightening gender roles that the wartime economy had loosened.[...] What changed in the Consumers’ Republic was the shift in emphasis from the 'citizen' consumer to the 'purchaser' consumer. The first represented the public interest, the second the marketplace. The first had rights, the second demographics. [...]" — Vince Carducci, (Review of A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America by Lizabeth Cohen) PopMatters

"The GI Bill [Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944] in the context of legal discrimination in that era, created segregated, middle class, suburban neighborhoods made up of white families. This benefit catalyzed the process of wealth-building through homeownership for these families. In turn, they could then borrow from their home equity to send a first generation of family members to college, and this generation sequentially gave birth to today’s professional class.
     African Americans and Latino veterans and their families did not have access to these benefits. They remained renters and were confined to segregated neighborhoods with poor infrastructure and lack of access to adequate schooling, health care, and social services." — United Way

More from Vince Carducci (PopMatters)...
"[...] The perfect metaphor of self-reliance in the Consumers’ Republic was the home fallout shelter, where each family became accountable for its own survival in the event of nuclear holocaust. And not surprisingly, these facilities were most often built in suburban areas by people with middle-class incomes and above, who had the space and money for them."
From: Popular Mechanics, December, 1961

Friday, 17 June 2011

the dead, the reborn and the never alive

From: The Gothic Tea Society

"The origins of memento mori photographs can be traced back nearly to the beginning of photography itself. During the nineteenth century, post-mortem portraits were used to acknowledge and mourn the death of a loved one, especially a baby or child. All social classes engaged in the practice, which became more widespread after the introduction of the daguerrotype in 1839. The subjects of the photos were generally arranged to appear as if peacefully asleep, all their earthly suffering ended. Displayed prominently in the household alongside other family photographs, the portraits helped heal grieving hearts by preserving some trace of the deceased." — The Gothic Tea Society
More here...


"[The doll] has 'BABY FAT' pellets as one of her key weighting ingredients. These new silicone based pellets make her even more realistic and add a whole new dimension to the feel of her body. The 'squish' factor is AWESOME!!"— bOING bOING

"Welcome to The Neverland Nursery! The nursery is a very special 
place because it is magical! Each time a new baby is born, on the
first evening of its arrival, when the nursery is all dark and the
babies are sleeping, the neverland fairies come to visit. They fly
over the newborn baby and lightly sprinkle it with their magical fairy dust... fairy dust that will transform the newborn into a baby forever! The baby then becomes a part of Neverland... 
where babies never grow up!" — Karen Whitmore (about her Reborn Dolls) The Neverland Nursery

From: Tokyo Times

"Davecat keeps a picture of his girlfriend in his wallet. She's pretty, with long black hair, an alluring mole under her left eye, and glossy red lipstick. Her sheer tank top shows off her full breasts and the hoop through her left nipple.[...]
     Because Real Dolls' silicone flesh holds heat well and becomes more pliable when body-temperature warm, Davecat toasts Sidore with an electric mattress pad all day. Aside from getting up for occasional photo shoots, she mostly stays in bed, lying on her side to keep her butt from getting flat and so she's spoonable. She also frequently wears an athletic bra to keep her 34D breasts from sagging."— Salon

"[The company] that makes these companions offer a lifelong after-service, and anticipate a time when the doll will outlive its owner. But for any unwanted dutch wives [In Japan (according to Wikipedia) sex dolls are known as "Dutch Wives" ('dattchi waifu' ) ], the company will discreetly take them back free of charge. And rather than just throw them away, twice a year it has a Buddhist memorial service, where the ‘souls’ of the dolls are consecrated."— Tokyo Times

WARNING: Some may find the content of the Tokyo Times article disturbing, inappropriate and abhorrent to North American sensibilities and mores.

See a related article here...
I have lost my notes about where this photo came from... feel free to clue me in.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

[...] back and forth and the images will move side to side. [...] side to side and the images will move up and down *

Original bank note images from: Wikipedia

"Pentagon officials determined that one giant C-130 Hercules cargo plane could carry $2.4 billion in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills. They sent an initial full planeload of cash, followed by 20 other flights to Iraq by May 2004 in a $12-billion haul that U.S. officials believe to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time. [...]
     The cash was carried by tractor-trailer trucks from the fortress-like Federal Reserve currency repository in East Rutherford, N.J., to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, then flown to Baghdad. U.S. officials there stored the hoard in a basement vault at one of Hussein's former palaces, and at U.S. military bases, and eventually distributed the money to Iraqi ministries and contractors. Millions of dollars were [then] stuffed in gunnysacks and hauled on pickups to [these] Iraqi agencies or contractors. [...]" — Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
...via the New Shelton wet/dry

"[...] According to the U.S. Treasury, 'In $100 bills, the weight of $1 million is about 22 pounds.' [that's 10 kg.]
     So, the area of a single bill is 6.6294 cm by 15.5956 cm which is
.066294 m x .155956 m = 0.0103389471 square meters
     Since $1,000,000 requires 10,000 bills, the total area of the bills is
103.389471 square meters, and the total thickness is 124 micrometers x 10,000 = 1,240,000 micrometers = 1.24 meters.
     So the height of a single stack is 1.24 meters. And the volume of the stack is 103.389471 x 0.000124 = 0.01282 cubic meters
     And since the total area of the bills is 103.389471 square meters, at
a weight of 88.7 grams per meter or .0887 x 103.389471 = 9.17 kg
     Add another .83 kg for the ink and you're back to the Treasury's 10kg. figure.
     So in summary, you can have one stack of bills 1.24 meters = 48.82
inches high, or you can have, say, 4 stacks a little over a foot high,
22 pounds all together, or (if you prefer the metric system) 6 stacks
a little over 20 cm high, 10kg. all together."
google answers
* CBS News (about the complex design of the new US 100 dollar bill; read more...)

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

and the two shall become one

Original photo (top) from Life of Elvis

"In the two-room shotgun house built by his father in readiness for the birth, Jesse Garon Presley, his identical twin brother, was delivered 35 minutes before him, stillborn." — Wikipedia

When I was a lad, every week my Uncle John (in Liverpool) would send us a rolled up bundle of Daily Mirrors (along with the Bootle Times, a suburban Liverpool weekly that was full of back-burner info about this up-and-coming local rock band, the Beatles).
     It was around the time of Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann's trial in Israel and I have a distinct memory of a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" Daily Mirror article that used an effective image of the mass murderer Eichmann to illustrate Hannah Arendt's famous insights about "the banality of evil" in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem.
     By making a mirror image copy of the photo and superimposing each half of it onto copies of the original, the newspaper's production department created a "Evil Eichmann" and a "Good Eichmann."
     The pure, bilateral symmetry of a child's face is something that changes as we mature (for many reasons)— a fact that was exploited to produce the dramatic effect in the Daily Mirror back in 1962. But the pictures (above) of Elvis Presley when he was eight years old are particularly interesting because they show this asymmetry at such a young age.
     Facial asymmetry also explains why so many people don't like photos of themselves. We are used to seeing a mirror image of our own faces; a right-reading image in a photograph always seems a bit alien to us.
Adolph Eichmann (from: Wirtualna Polkska)

More face photograph manipulations here...

"Studies have shown that there is surprising agreement about what makes a face attractive. Symmetry is at the core, along with youthfulness; clarity or smoothness of skin; and vivid color, say, in the eyes and hair. There is little dissent among people of different cultures, ethnicities, races, ages and gender."— Sarah Kershaw, The New York Times

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

edmund hillary clinton

"One experience that I've been especially interested in is our understanding and experience of pictures. If I show you a picture from a newspaper—for example, a photo of Hillary Clinton—there is a sense in which, when you look at that picture, you see Hillary. There she is, in the picture. Of course, Hillary is not there, so there is an obvious sense in which you don't see Hillary when you look at the picture. There is a sense in which you see her; and a sense in which you don't. She shows up for you, in the picture, even though she is not there. She shows up as not there. Getting clear about this phenomenon is the central empirical and conceptual problem about depiction."[...]
"[...] the use of mirrors to create sensory feedback could provide a therapy for phantom-limb pain. What Ramachandran and others have done is allow somebody who experiences phantom-limb discomfort to look at a mirror and move his good arm but get visual feedback as if he is moving the bad arm. They find that through moving the good arm it's possible to work out a cramp in what is in fact an absent arm. [...]"
—Alva Noë, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley

"[...] But why would the `nalls digging' sensation also disappear along with the spasm? This is even more difficult to explain but one might suppose that the two sensations, nalls digging' and the`clenching', are linked in the brain, even in normal individuals, by a Hebbian learning mechanism so that abolishing one leads to the elimination of the other as well. What we are dealing with here, then, might be a primitive form of sensory learning that could conceivably provide a new way of experimentally approaching morc complex forms of memory and learning in the adult brain.[...]"
— V. S. Ramachandran and D. Rogers-Ramachandran

Monday, 13 June 2011

everything i say is unselfconscious

A recasting of Scrooge (A Christmas Carol) 1951: Alastair Sim and Donald Rumsfeld

"[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know.” — Donald Rumsfeld, former United States Secretary
of Defense

"[...] Wheeler had walked into two Pittsburgh banks and attempted to rob them in broad daylight. What made the case peculiar is that he made no visible attempt at disguise. The surveillance tapes were key to his arrest. There he is with a gun, standing in front of a teller demanding money. Yet, when arrested, Wheeler was completely disbelieving. 'But I wore the juice,' he said. Apparently, he was under the deeply misguided impression that rubbing one’s face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to video cameras. [...] If Wheeler was too stupid to be a bank robber, perhaps he was also too stupid to know that he was too stupid to be a bank robber — that is, his stupidity protected him from an awareness of his own stupidity." — Errol Morris, The New York Times

 Are you all right, Mr. Scrooge?

I... I don't know. I don't know anything. I never did know anything.

(starts laughing)

But now I KNOW that I don't know anything!
(begins to sing and clap his hands)

I don't know anything!/ I never did know anything!/ But now I know that I don't know/ All on a Christmas morning!

(speaking again)
Shall I stand on my head? I must stand on my head.
(He does so, and MRS. DILBER runs out screaming)

 from Scrooge, [a.k.a. A Christmas Carol] (1951)
Screenplay by Noel Langley

Friday, 10 June 2011

rope trick

Photo montage: Michael Hale
Try to imagine a three foot-long piece of rope floating horizontally about seven feet above the ground—thick, hemp rope, the kind you see in ship yards lashed to bollards, or in Soho art galleries attached to bits of rusting, welded steel. (They are usually framed by track lighting and badly refinished hardwood flooring.) This one is nowhere near Soho, or a shipyard—it hangs suspended above the parking lot of a liquor store in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
     It's a hot, cloudless day at around two in the afternoon. A breeze has come up, but the hovering length of rope doesn't move.
     At this moment its shadow falls perpendicular to the lines of paint that mark the boundaries of parking spaces. The lot has recently been repaved and the white lines are crisp against the tuxedo black of the new asphalt. There are no cars in the parking lot at this time.
     A man who is wracked with indecision is thinking if I phone her right now I might catch her heading out the door for work. But he senses that this impulse is somewhat misguided, and he puts it down to the surge of caffeine from a recent cup of lukewarm coffee.
     Try to imagine the complex caffeine molecules locking like LEGO blocks into the slots of some esoteric matrix of the man's brain chemistry. (Let your mind float tangentially enough to see it as a multicolored, animated simulation; or an illustration with arrows, captions and cross-sections of brain cells—a page from a Scientific American article, perhaps.)
     It is foolish of the man to think that talking to her now will make any difference at all. She has told him outright that their relationship has no future. But it is not caffeine alone that changes his mind about making the call. He keeps falling into the memory of the shape of her nipple in his mouth, the damp coolness of it grazing his cheek...
     Turn your attention back to the rope: No one has noticed it yet. The parking lot is not often frequented; the liquor store is the only viable business left in the strip mall and it does most of its business between five and seven o'clock. The neon COORS sign is barely visible in the glare of the midday light.
     There is a beauty to this place that would have made the caffeine-addled man's forbears gasp: the fastidious uniformity of the lawns among the parking lots; the abundance of trees: mature oaks, maples, and butternuts lining the boulevards; the illusion that a solitary pedestrian is safe in his solitude, that the sun and odorless air are not lethal, but benign.
     For the duration of this hypothetical visit, the great great grandfather or great great uncle, say, would forget the dull ache of his obliterated teeth and more than likely sink to the knees of his matted woolen trousers and say a few words of thanks—to God, the God he assumes has brought him here. He would reach beyond the sumptuous curve of the concrete curb of the intersection, where it dips to accommodate wheelchairs and baby carriages, and with a tentative finger touch the warm, pewter blanket of recent blacktop. He would be persuaded, for an instant, that he is indoors. There is no soil here, no dirt. Only this odd, black, sun-baked floor with its ribbon of concrete (like perfect pie crust) butting the thick carpet of grass. There is no smell of dung, bad breath, or sweat-marinated linen in this place. No scent of lilac, or hawthorn. Not an insect or bird in sight.
     Back to the young man now, and his obsession with this particular woman. In the air, there is a ripple in the electromagnetic field fanning out across the square miles of the man's community. It has been triggered by his speed dialing of the woman's cellular phone number. (He is somewhat bereft; for he believes, in his solipsistically adolescent way, that his hesitation has sent her out the door and on her way to her job in the city—she has told him she works for a large brokerage firm in Minneapolis. The afternoon shift—which didn’t make sense at first, but he has come to accept it for what it is. The way he has come to terms with traffic congestion and his need for coffee.
     Like a pebble tossed into a lake his call is just one of many thousands of EMF pulses saturating the air of this Midwest community. Somehow, this solitary signal, like a sperm cell finding its way to the egg (You may be tempted to digress once more and conjure up an image from a "The Learning Channel" special about the miracle of birth.) has reached the phone in the woman's purse.
     The purse is on her dining room table. She is in the bathroom, and the chirp of the off-the-rack ringtone—and the screen that is glowing now, bathing her imitation tortoiseshell compact in a pulsing, mythic, neon—is lost in the flush of the toilet and the rush of water blasting from the vanity faucet.
     She actually works at the liquor store, the store in suburban St. Paul strip mall where the three foot-long piece of rope hangs suspended in bright sunlight. She tells herself that her part time job is only a temporary position; she is planning to go back to school in the fall. She is hoping to be accepted into a Masters of Business Administration program at a college in Illinois. The expensive phone was a present to herself; she believes in the rituals of creative visualization. Mastering the multi-functionality of the fancy cutting-edge phone is a prefigurement of her future success in the business world. The shoes she wears, even to her job at the liquor store (the men she goes out with) all are calculated to redirect the flow of her life, move it in a positive direction; she sees these fine adjustments to her daily comings and goings as a form of nomadic feng shui.
     She is thinking about the man who is calling her on the phone (and how relieved she is that she dumped him when she did) just as the water level raising the ball cock in the tank shuts off the valve. This verbal connection is lost on her: the risqué allusion that it conjures up—it would be more surprising if it wasn't beyond her ken; Alicia knows nothing about the workings of a toilet.
     She remembers the feel of his tongue circling her nipple, and that he works for a prominent accounting firm out in St. Louis Park; a fact which, more so than the memory of his tongue, places a counterweight of regret on the scale pan of her decision.
     The ends of the section of rope floating seven feet above the suburban liquor store parking lot are cut cleanly, as if by a precise and exceedingly sharp razor blade. The length of the rope at thirty degrees Celsius is exactly one meter. The temperature of the air around the floating rope has risen point seven degrees Celsius since the man dialed the woman's cellular phone number. This change in ambient temperature has made no appreciable difference to the length of the rope.
     She hears the phone, at last, and answers it.
     "Hi. It's me, Jack (not his real name)—"
     "I was just thinking about you—"
     "Thinking about me? Isn't that weird? So was I. Thinking about you, I mean. So. Something on your mind? Something you wanted to say?”
     This puzzles her—the circular nature of his approach to the conversation. "You called me," she says, after a moment.
     "Yeah. I was going to call you and, well—I did. So. How are you?"
     "Fine, I guess.”
     There is a crackle on the line for an instant—an attenuated, digital stutter. Cell phone interference. This is a throwback to the noisy, scratchy, phone conversations her great grandmother used to have back in the nineteen-twenties, the nineteen-fifties. "I was just leaving—"
     He hears what sounds like a modified, exasperated sigh—at least that's how he perceives it. Again, it could have been static.
     "I'll call you later, okay? From work—" she says then.
     “No. Don’t call me from work.”
     “Why not?”
     “I’ll be busy.”
     “So, if I call you from somewhere else, you won’t be busy?” She is remembering why she stopped seeing him, now. His voice has triggered a memory of dread; an unspecific dread. The way he would exhaust her, even when he was giving her pleasure.
     “Just call me from somewhere else, okay?”
     “I’ve gotta’ go. I’m late.”
     “lf you call me from work, I probably won’t pick up.”
     “Text me.”
     “Text me.”
     “Text you?”
     “Yeah. Text me and tell me you tried to call.”
     She tries to put body language into what's going out through the mouthpiece. She sighs again, deeply—she hopes it’s getting through to him this time: her eagerness to be somewhere else. An analogue representation of a sigh, a cartoon sigh (although she doesn’t think about it in these terms; she would never use the word “analogue”—even in the context of her own stream of consciousness.) “Let’s just forget about the whole thing, okay? To be honest, I’ve got nothing to talk to you about.”
     At the moment she sighs an uprising of thermal turbulence causes the rope suspended above the parking lot outside the liquor store to move. Not as you would suspect, up and down, or side to side; but within itself, so that the length of it changes. It compresses then expands no more than a millimeter. No one notices. No one has driven by in more than two hours; no one has come close enough to the parking lot to notice.
     The period of flexing is twenty-one seconds. Its shadow has moved since the man dialed the woman’s phone number; it is now 8° off perpendicular to the parking demarcation lines.
     The woman hangs up on him and turns off her phone. She puts the phone back into her purse and leaves the apartment.
     By the time the woman arrives at the liquor store parking lot the rope is gone.
Copyright © 1995, 2011 by Michael Hale

Thursday, 9 June 2011

trickle down

From: Wikipedia

"Contractors for Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Levi’s worked in close concert with the US Embassy when they aggressively moved to block a minimum wage increase for Haitian assembly zone workers, the lowest-paid in the hemisphere [...] the factory owners at the center of this sordid story, who moved successfully to block the $5 per day minimum wage passed by the Haitian parliament, were making goods for big-name US retailers like Levi Strauss and Hanes. In keeping with the industry’s usual practice, the brand name US companies kept their own hands clean [...]" — The Nation

"[...] We also leverage our trade relationships and the power of our brand to encourage the governments in the countries from which we source to strengthen and enforce their own labor laws, including policies that directly affect working conditions and worker rights. [...]" — Levi Strauss & Co. (from their web site)

another incident involving US Ambassador
Janet Sanderson

"[...] For months the families petitioned Sanderson, then U.S. ambassador to Algeria, for news of the detained aid workers. She refused to meet with the families, advising them to contact the Algerian authorities, says Abdelkader Ait Idir, spokesman for the families.
After a year in custody, all 24 Algerian aid workers were released. One, Mustapha Ait Idir, Abdelkader’s 33-year-old brother, is still angry at Sanderson and other State Department officials for the treatment meted out in the 'Guantanamo Bay cages.'" — William Bolwes.info
And more here...

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

from hard to soft then back again...

Yasutaro Mitsui with a robot from the early 1930s (from The Invisible Agent)

"A world premiere: a material which changes its strength, virtually at the touch of a button. This transformation can be achieved in a matter of seconds through changes in the electron structure of a material; thus hard and brittle matter, for example, can become soft and malleable. What makes this development revolutionary, is that the transformation can be controlled by electric signals."
(from Science Daily)

I can't help but envision this material being used in an anatomical contextan artificial heart, for example; with a control mechanism that mimics the dynamics of an organic heart (responding to fluctuating demands just like a real one). Or artificial muscles of all kinds.

"Below the soft silicon skin of one of Japan's most sophisticated robots, processors record and evaluate information. The 130-cm (four-foot, four-inch) humanoid is designed to learn just like a human infant.
'Babies and infants have very, very limited programmes. But they have room to learn more,' said Osaka University professor Minoru Asada, as his team's 33 kilogram (73 pound) invention kept its eyes glued to him."

Read more here...
and here...

Monday, 6 June 2011

Wide Open Tulip (photo: Michael Hale)

"[...] in February 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. It is generally considered the first recorded speculative bubble [...]" from Wikipedia

Never odd or eveN

Illustration by Sir John Tenniel (1820 – 1914) 
from Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) by Lewis Carroll

by Russell Edson

On the other side of a mirror there’s an inverse world, where the insane go sane; where bones climb out of the earth and recede to the first slime of love. 

And in the evening the sun is just rising. 

Lovers cry because they are a day younger, and soon childhood robs them of their pleasure. 

In such a world there is much sadness which, of course, is joy . . .

“Antimatter” from The Childhood of an Equestrian (Harper & Row, 1973). Reprinted in The Tunnel: Selected Poems (Oberlin College Press, 1994) © Russell Edson
"In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people's home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!" 
— Woody Allen (from goodreads)
More Woody Allen quotes here...

"Today, we live in a universe apparently made entirely of matter, yet at the big bang matter and antimatter would have existed in equal quantities. Nature seems to have a slight preference for matter, which allows our universe and everything in it to exist."

Thursday, 2 June 2011

"[...] the world in a grain of sand [...] heaven in a wild flower [...]" — William Blake

Photo : Wikimedia Commons

"Bacillus pasteurii is commonly found in wetlands, and is able to chemically create calcite. By unleashing the bacteria on areas of the desert, sand could be solidified into sandstone within a few hours. The way Larsson proposes to do this is fill massive balloons with bacteria and station them along the Sahara's southern border, where the weight of the oncoming waves of sand would pop the balloons. The released bacteria would then quickly set up a protective wall to block future sand shifts." Read more...

Architect Magnus Larsson at the TED Global
conference in Oxford (2009)

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

brain. cell. phone.

Martin Cooper,  "Father of the Mobile" (from: MobHappy)

"The highest-quality research data available suggests that long-term exposure to microwaves from cellular phones may lead to an increased risk of brain tumors, reports a paper in the November/December issue of Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography." Read more...

"Cell phones used by patients and their visitors were twice as likely to contain potentially dangerous bacteria as those of healthcare workers."

"The 'precautionary principle' suggest that even if chances of negative health effects are low, it makes sense to offset them by avoiding unnecessary exposure to risk. To that end, it can't hurt to use phones with headsets or speakerphone mode whenever convenient."
Here are two links (to other links) about the dangers of cell phones to bees... and  balls.
 And here's an article that delves into the statistics of it all: (from bOING bOING)

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