Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Quite a bit of fad diets and spindled advice come and go, and while the best home-spun recommendation usually run don’t skimp on food and know one’s constitution, some candidates, I think, remain enticing and sensible, and without disparaging the strength of motivation and paying attention to one’s body, one’s habits, earn more credit than is due. It’s no Jedi mind-trick to present any comer with an array of caveats where one is bound to find enthusiasm, either for or against. Validation and challenge to one’s palette or approach is equally fixing and offer the same such bait for consideration.
Seeking out a healthy mix of second-opinions can raise a lot of incompatible ideas and contradicting advice. Reinforcement with chiding is a situation that one is more accustomed to than even pure success of failure, regardless of the estimation. Some dispensaries are more effective than others, and if not loyalists, franchises like eating for one’s rH factor, like one’s great grandparents, or like a Neanderthal have garnered much interest, which is a quality as compelling as any visceral emotion—just so with homeopathy and training to become a confirmed optimist. To have a kernel of truth, a bit of solace is a hook, enough and enduring when there’s a bald hint of reaffirming rightness and knowing one’s misguidance was common enough to merit correction. Maybe the new packaging has more to do with processes than any inherent weakness, without condemning the bulk and body of the industry to willing prospecting, maybe the explosion of allergies and sensitivities is more attributable to lifestyle and shortcuts in production. It is immature cheese that has the highest lactose content, and maybe the vogue of intolerance is more because of how it’s cut, even in polite company, than any new epidemic or any revelatory remediation.
Monday, 28 January 2013
The science desk of BBC has a fascinating article that opens up the disciplined world of knowable physical phenomena to the confounding confines of quantum mechanics, which normally escape experience and expectation in tiny, evanescent spaces, through the aspirations of Nature, a force which works within an established framework, surely, but is known and distinguished by its ingenuity, regardless of what invisible hand might guide it.
Sunday, 27 January 2013
Despite its ubiquity, I never bothered to find out what meaning there was behind it, since unnoticed symbolism governs all such establishments and I was content in guessing the common emblem was the Star of David or some time-out-of-mind male-female duality cipher, which carry enough hidden meaning and glosses of interpretation already. It turn out, however, that there is a quite but not necessarily separate legacy to this design. The society of Pythagoras associated the sign with hospitality since antiquity—imparting protection for travelers. Germanic lore understood the symbol as the footprint of a circumspect swan, stepping ahead and back again and would insure guests a good night’s sleep, warding away sprites and nixies that stir nightmares for those away from hearth and home. They called it the Drudenfuβ, resembling the footfall of its nemesis, and it kept noisome spirits from crossing the threshold by encouraging them to turn right around.
Saturday, 26 January 2013
The borough of old London town have some quite fanciful street names, with some equally fanciful but probably incorrect folk-etymologies.
guesthouses likely naming is direct and intentional, relating to symbols adopted by venerable guilds that set up shop in these areas. It was more interesting to be disabused and learn that the Worshipful Company of Cutlers used as their logo an elephant (carrying a howdah on its back, a fancy carriage for the raj of India, named for its resemblance to the chess piece) for its ivory tusks, used for fashioning knife handles. Goats and compasses probably should be taken literally and could refer to a variety of trades, from people who actually cobbled shoes from goat skin to the enclave of Rheinish barrel-makers (coopers), whose craft was hallmarked by mathematical precision (a drafting compass) and a chevron (^) that stands for a fret, frieze or frontier for crossing obstacles reliably, much like a sure-footed goat, which has the same Latinate root.
Friday, 25 January 2013
Since their inception, there have been standards enshrined in the culture of highways, Autobahnen with the intent of breaking up monotony without sparing on utility. There are mandates for gentle curves in order to keep drivers alert, in contrast to straightaway, required in some places to allow for emergency airplane landings.
Sometimes such subtler persuasions are overshadowed by constant construction works, same-otherwise by a few vistas of spectacular scenery and roads hugging the contours of the landscape. There are still, however, quite a number of long numbing stretches of road, especially for the express route through flat lands. Although not common in America or Germany, there are score of techniques tried in France, Denmark and the Netherlands to with art streaming along the margins, posts a-pace with the traffic that change like flip-book animation, rather abstract and Jungian and light installations. Some really creative things have been done, but now such Dutch civil engineers are applying their artistry to creating smart-roads, beginning with a stretch of highway by Eindhoven.
Thursday, 24 January 2013
This day marks the anniversary of the assassination of the Roman emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus by a cohort commander and a group of dissatisfied members of the royal guard. The emperor was is more commonly known as Caligula, a nickname earned in his childhood while accompanying his father on field marches, scurrying to keep pace with the adults in his little boots. I am sure that was only earned posthumously. His removal from power makes the first known occasion in the history of the Empire that an emperor was removed from office by a grand collusion of the military and the Senate, and not the usual intrigue over succession by their own relatives.
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
Putting the matter of Britain, which many conclude as foregone, to a vote by the public is bound, perhaps hopelessly, with retaining the current government, and is deferred to a future date to ensure the reelection of the prime minister’s political party. Such an opportunity is unmistakably a mandate for many of the voters. Special arrangements can certainly be made (the EU should not be mistaken for the euro), and hopefully this proposal is not a political ploy and the choice should absolutely be in the hands of the citizens, but such promises and pandering seem only confounding and leverage for more concessions that will weaken the union, inviting others to grow finicky over their own dues.
There was a rather disturbing report on the radio, heard naturally driving home when one can reasonably expect to be able to divide one's attention to an extent, confident that one's car is reliabily able to behave within certain parameters, regarding the very real eventuality that highly computerized modern cars, swarming in some cases to the beginnings of a network or at least integrated with accessories normally associated with networks, are quite vulnerable to digital sabotage.
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Monday, 21 January 2013
The industrial and design revolution that will make makers and engineers of us all with the rapid introduction of three-dimensional printing is patently exciting, and it will bring in its wake consequences that we cannot foresee in form and function that is instant, intuited and mediated by a collective inspired for its own sake.
I got a blue elephant, but with this modern invention, I suppose one could wish for anything, from a replacement bumper, a personalized action-figure, a key to leave with the house-sitter, a bicycle-helmet, a scale model of my block, a watering can with a long, thin spout at the right angle to reach the plants without spilling, a pedestal that’s just the right height, to a prosthetic foot, tailor-made. I think the un-apprenticed will quickly acquire the spatial- and stress-knowledge for their Goldie-Locks cobbling, working up to ever bolder and artistic departures from the template through trial and error. The movement would I think bring back a sense of community, things, piece and part being no longer exclusively in the estranging and ransoming hands of business, which is excellent, but I hope the fabric of the revolution is managed in such a way that we are not splintering the problems of manufacturing from a few areas to something omnipresent and contributing more towards pollution and consumption.
Safety and durability should always be a factor along with resource-fulness and caring for the environment, but I suspect that the clever architects of a technology that is continuously progressing will see to that the 3-D printers will become more and more energy efficient (not reduplicated factories in miniature) won’t remain finicky machines (like cheap paper printers with their exacting and costly refill cartridges) but will be able to process plastics presently destined for the recycling bin and sort-yard. It will be nice to see the return of collection drives, as well, as recycling too becomes an immediate process.
We picked up some paper napkins from the Einrichtungshaus decorated with this very clever pattern (Muster) of antique kitchen implements. I have a general aversion to disposable napkins and try to use them sparingly and always twice, but they are important to presentation like the vintage catalogue depicted. I hope that these anonymous designers know that their work does not go unappreciated.
We have a growing collection of fish knives, relish-trays, cake servers, coasters, salt-cellars, moutardes, mortars and pestles, coffee mills, icing spoons, and more usual utensils, like these silver forceps for grasping a hot, hard-boiled egg or these serving tongs for slippery asparagus, which we try to put to purpose every chance we get and not just have as decoration. It is not about etiquette or intimidating table-manners but rather just opportunity. Do you have a quiver of specialized kitchen tools just waiting for their moment to shine, as well?
Sunday, 20 January 2013
Although the concept of organic (Bio) foods has gone through some reversals lately in terms of health, environment impact and efficiency, I was not one to completely discount the label. I did grow a bit leery of the movement, however, when it started encroaching on water and wine—the first was recanted as a gimmick, and as for vinification, I wondered how respectable wine-makers would allow wine-hacks to sully their product, since surely there are standards governing the whole production process as well as tradition. They’d have to call it something else, like Champ-pail or Hwine, if it was too treated, wouldn’t they?
The local grocery store recently, however, had a handbill, a guide for vegetarian and vegan wines (initially I thought it would be about pairing the right wine with a vegetarian meal), that was part informative and part pandering fretful-consumer purists, I thought at first. Apparently producers are allowed a few shortcuts, more prevalent among vintages brought to market within the same calendar year (which is not necessarily a sign of a cheap wine, since only a fraction actually improve with age after that first year), and one such hack involves clarifying the pulp (Must, Most) with natural, albeit animal-derived products, like gelatin (made out of old bones and hooves, like the coating for medicine capsules), fish oil, egg white, and casein (a milk protein).
Two recent articles featured via Neatorama offer up an intriguing triangulation touching ethics, technical feasibility, the capacity for imagination as well as questioning what it means to be human through the lens of speciation. The latter points to a very interesting interview between reporters with Der Spiegel and a Harvard professor who is one of the leading thinkers in the field of synthetic biology, regarding the possibility of resurrecting the Neanderthals, whose genetic map has already been successfully sequenced and cloning this branch of the family of man would be (after all the questions are answered, and the scientist and his team invite public debate as essential) a relatively simple matter of finding a willing surrogate.
Like the Jurassic era (adapted into an early cautionary-tale) is named for a mountain range in the western alps, the sub-species Neanderthal is named after a valley (Tal) near Düsseldorf, frequented by a pastor in the 1800s, called Joachim Neumann (Neander is the Greek-form of new man) for inspiration. The characteristic limestone layer of the age was first discovered in the Jura mountains, and the fossilized skeleton of our cousins was first recognized for what it could be in Neander’s valley. Notwithstanding the harvests of genetically modified crops that have infiltrated our food supplies mostly out of business interest (we have not yet made good on the promise of drought-resistant crops for famine-struck regions but that is not a profit that companies can necessarily take to the bank), vaccines, and pedigrees of dogs and cats, it is not acceptable to create or revive sentient beings purely for the benefit and advancement of human kind—in the style of Planet of the Apes, however, Neanderthal physique was at minimum more robust than ours and may have been smarter than their lither and perhaps crueler competitors.
The humans accepted the benevolent tutelage of the more experienced Vulcans before arrogantly taking on the Universe like the Wild West, and characters like Mr. Spock,
Saturday, 19 January 2013
The day is approaching, and although it has been on the horizon for some time I felt like there was more time always, or my new job to start that will have me migrating during the work week.
Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Towards the end of last summer, there was somewhat of a landmark study from a Norwegian institute into the developmental effects of marijuana smoking in adolescents, which suggested that routine usage was detrimental to cognitive abilities in later life—measured by changes in the intelligence quotient of subjects. The research was expansive, endorsed by peers and seemed to proffer a sensible outcome—that the brains of teenagers are still plastic and going through important and formative stages that make young people acutely sensitive to the effects of getting stoned.
Tuesday, 15 January 2013
PEZ, I learned, is an Austrian confection whose name is taken from the initial, middle and last letters of the German word Pfefferminz—the original flavour of these tiny candy bricks.
Wikitravel, a partner site but not truly a sister project of Wikipedia universe, is an excellent resource but is not something fully integrated. Now, however, the Wikimedia Foundation is launching its own travelogue portal, Wikivoyage.
Sunday, 13 January 2013
There’s a lot of talk about minting a pair of trillion dollar platinum coins, taking advantage of an economic fiction and a loophole in the language addressing what the Executive branch may or may not do in regards to with a fiat that effectively negates the statutory debt-ceiling (also an economic fiction) by having enough money in reserve to cover those outlays. At best, it may be the wedge that the US president needs to unyoke the country from financial hijacking, and at worse, it seems sort of a silly tactic that’s hard to consider fully the ramifications of and just more delays, but I don’t necessarily believe it’s the black-magic option (as opposed to the nuclear-option) and something malevolent forged in the bowels of Mount Doom.
Saturday, 12 January 2013
Regularly on the weekends, there is a concessionaire operation setup in the parking lot of the local supermarket that sells roast chicken—and fixins, for take-away. I noticed that the company offers a catering service, as well, for, as suggested, weddings and what’s called a “Polterabend.”
Though second- and third-hand tales abounded, until recently there was no undisputed evidence of cow tunnels boring under the streets of Manhattan’s West Side. Although far less incredulous than giant crocodiles, sprung from unwanted pets flushed down toilets, lurking in sewers, urban spelunkers are beginning to map out this forgotten underground network, meant to reduce the traffic of livestock brought into 1870s Gotham disrupting human transportation.
Friday, 11 January 2013
Although deceptively straightforward, I find that I am having a tough time with reflexive verb forms in German. Little pronouns like mich and dich and generically rendered as sich modify directionality quite a bit—zum Beispiel: I could have kicked him as opposed to I could have kicked myself.
Thursday, 10 January 2013
There has been not an insignificant amount of pontificating about the up-and-coming generation of young adults, college-goers and pedigreed for the workplace, by psychologists and trend-minders of all ilks that sounds on the one hand like a fire-and-brimstone sermon meant to inspiring fear and quaking and a bit of humility and at the same time, a very dire caution. Although such warnings and calls for reflection are ignored at great peril and the adjudicated assessments of others are always worthy of consideration, to say that in the main that people growing up vicarious through their avatars, with an on-line persona that shields individuals from criticism and dissent and attracts and enhances esteem and confidence, are at best a cohort of megalomaniacs may be somewhat of a Noble Lie.
I can’t tell who the recipient and conjurer of this fib are exactly, however. It reminds me a bit of the theory that engineering’s prerequisite is manual dexterity and not being too privileged not to have had to work on a jalopy, or that self-confidence is no measure of success, given that success’ measure scorns contentment. Demographers and psychologists have pronounced that young people in this age group are saddled with a sense of entitlement expressed in terms of high opinion not commensurable with the studiousness or effort they’re willing to apply. Their own virtual lives, fronted and secure, in fact, often scoop their genuine experiences. These are important and uncomfortable affronts that any of us should have the courage to face. In the end, however, I suspect it is not a very novel critique since, parenting not discounted, there have always been vanities particular to each age. J. J. Rousseau and La Rochefoucauld wrote about amour-propre (self-love) already in the mid sixteenth century, Plato warned of sophistry by the fifth century B.C., and the story of Narcissus dates from the time of legend.
Wednesday, 9 January 2013
My little sister and her partner are about to have a baby.
Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Monday, 7 January 2013
Angel a witch and mistook our spoon-rest for an ashtray. I thought that characterization, however, even better, so now it’s Great Astral She-Bear. The constellation of candles, locked in orbit, also reminded me of the unexpected revelation about the unexpectedly regular paths that dwarf galaxies waltz around the Galaxy Andromeda, discovered at the insistence of a young and promising French astronomer (DE/EN). There might be more of an aesthetic balance to nature than is readily admissible, after all, and maybe something also that a fresh pair of eyes needs to see.
Sunday, 6 January 2013
Saturday, 5 January 2013
One of the items concerned this corres- pondence between retired Admiral and First Sea Lord Baron John (Jacky) Fisher and Winston Churchill from September of 1917, which contains the first usage of the initialism (with explanation) OMG. The context of the message seems a bit tongue-in-cheek, maybe a play on the honours OBE, Order of the British Empire, and similar styles.