Wednesday, 3 June 2015


mondrian: Star Wars minimalism

message in a bottle: a wine glass made for the sand and surf

tempest in a tea cup: tiny box displays the forecast with real precipitation

roy g. biv: a look at the past pseudo-scientific obsession with the Lรผscher colour test

mechanical turk: a look into internet propaganda factories of various regimes

Tuesday, 2 June 2015


Guardian columnist Oliver Burkeman presents a tidy, provoking reflection on the latter-day manifestations with romanticising youth which really makes the alternative, natural consequence—that of growing up and growing old, appear especially bleak.

So much coddling emphasis is put upon one’s prime—as defined by marketers—that to be past it in any sense and by any sight is taken to be a sign of defeat, instead of a hallmark of grace, maturity or conviction. Rather than repairing to the nostalgic and familiar, the doom and gloom and even appealing to the hypochondriac in us as the media is either a projection or reflection—for fear we might be told we can’t keep dreaming (a measure of escapism is keen and dandy but not a whole culture of remakes, prequels and re-hashing), or becoming a retiring curmudgeon, being an adult to a big extent, I think, is about confronting the dissonance with one’s life as it is and one’s life as it should be and being able to recognise (and receive) contentment.

stillgelegt oder little black rain cloud

I learnt from a friend that over the weekend, and with much contention culminating in celebration, that the atomic reactor near my former place of work was brought off-line (Bericht nur auf Deutsch) as part of sweeping energy-reforms in Germany.
I called the distant but highly visible installation our Cloud-Maker with a bit of assuaging dark-humour to make it seem a little less looming and threatening. The cooling towers did in fact figure prominently in the skyline of the town but I am not certain that this poster for a fun-run was composed with the same spirit (it looks more like wide spread panic). I understand that there are plans to convert the moth-balled unit into a museum that documents the potential risks associated with atomic power and underscore the alternatives, but as the world’s demands for power have grown quite insatiable, I am not sure what to think. I wonder if a schedule of other shut-downs has already been released and whether they are proceeding as planned. What do you think? Maintaining the lifestyle that one’s accustomed to of course has its costs, just like with the possible environmental and commercial trade-offs associated with dismantling present infrastructure.


cat fancy: collection of Wikipedia articles involving legendary felines

ottoman empire: accordion coffee table doubles as a dress

merry melodies: five bizarre Looney Tunes cartoons

honeycomb hideout: Oslo builds a bee highway through the city

vajen-bader: possible 1800s steampunk inspiration for Star Wars cast of characters

Monday, 1 June 2015

sunday drive: gersfeld

More times than I’d like to count (at least the half of them when leaving home for the workweek), I’ve passed through the town of Gersfeld at the gateway to the Rhรถn and near the convergence of Bavaria, Thuringia and Hessen without giving it much thought, since H and visited once before and it seemed too familiar, like some scrolling background scenery against a travelling-matte.

The other day, however, I did decide to explore a little again off the main street. Despite being historically hemmed in by two more powerful municipalities of the region, Wรผrzburg and Fulda, a great fire that destroyed much of the medieval city, the Napoleonic Wars that made the property hotly contested and most recently the loss of its industrial importance and status as a transportation hub with the division of Germany, the little town was really able to hold its own. There’s an ensemble of castles confined within a spacious estate that climbs the rolling, manicured foothills to the Jugendstil Park Villa above.
The far end of this garden also contained an interesting water-feature in the form of a narrow wading pool (between the hedgerows) called a Kneipp Heilbad, part of a regiment of hydrotherapy devised by Priest Sebastian Kneipp that harnessed the healing properties of thermal waters by alternating temperature and pressure.
Father Kneipp’s methods are well known in Germany and has inspired many offshoot techniques but in Norway, he is better known for another invention—the recipe for what’s called Kneippbrรธt—a staple whole-wheat food and most consumed bread in Europe. I wasn’t expecting the spa-installation so was not properly attired but do certainly plan to stop in Gersfeld again soon.

palabra jot

Just as the kingdoms of Heaven and the Earth were already careening in directions unknown with the confluence of Martin Luther’s critical and revolutionary stance, Henry VIII’s dissention that led to the Anglican confession, the discovery of the New World materialising and successive plagues picking off large swaths of the impious and faithful alike, the event that probably shook the foundations of the Church the most was a conciliatory bearing, a compromise characterised as a Middle Way, advocated by one of its own, Dutch theologian and scholar Desiderius Erasmus.
In the spirit of Cicero, regarded as the father of humanism, Erasmus championed dialectic over pure dogma and believed that religion revealed rather than one imparted made one’s belief genuine and steadfast—although Erasmus did not go as far as Luther in abolishing the priestly class, maintaining that tutors were necessary. Furthermore, raising more contention with the Protestant movement than reconciliation, Erasmus argued that that personal, less mediated relation with the divine was not consequent to the notion of predestination, accepting that one is part of God’s plan and happy with that, but instead that the orthodox idea of free will (which is not unfettered agency but the ability to see outcomes as otherwise than they actually turn out—that is, understanding that one’s actions and intentions have consequences, for good or evil) still had a place in this reformed cosmology. The most public and controversial act of the academic, however, was his decision to brush up on his Greek and Latin (the stock-phrase Pandora’s box comes from one of Erasmus’ earlier, honest mistranslations of Hesiod—it ought to be Pandora’s jar) and undertake to produce a definitive new translation of the Bible, since Luther’s own (thanks to the advent of the printing-press) was a popular success and successful too in promulgating historic typos. Luther, as King James and virtual all theologians relied on the four century translation of Saint Jerome of the Greek testaments into Latin. Wanting to provide his parishioners as pupils a better text and feeling admittedly divinely inspired, Erasmus quipped that “it is only fair that Paul should address the Romans in somewhat better Latin” and began his new version. Though a traditionalist in terms of Church politics, Erasmus did a poor job in restraining himself when it came to language. While I am sure that all linguists of any ilk sort of cringe to find surpassing ฮปฯŒฮณฮฟฯ› rendered as plain old word (Verbum), it was just too much for the Church to take when the first proofs started, very first chapter and verse, “In the beginning there was Conversation…” It is hard to say if Erasmus and his adherents might have negotiated a more peaceful and civil schism or might have made matters far worse, but both sides rejected this agitator’s backing as too much of a liability.


quilting-bee: fantastic gallery of modern quiltmaking

corpse bride: vis-ร -vis those paranormal paramours, a guide to posthumous marriage

rapper’s delight: woman walking her dog dances her heart out for a Bruxelles street performer

uncommon-grounds: coffee cups moulded from recycled coffee dregs

demarcation: a look at twenty-two plus international borders

warp and weave or venus in blue jeans

Via the splendiferous Kottke comes report of the latest technological collaboration of the wearable type in the form of Project Jacquard and the amazing, technicolour dreampants.

While it’s probably at best misleading to suggest that these new touch-sensitive textiles come in many colours or own any heritage to the that thermochronic experiment of the late 1980s that seemed to go underground (or even mood rings, which have seen a revival), having apparel that clothes one in a second, interactive skin, the Generra brand was the first thing I thought of. These new materials, however, are not to meant to interact with one’s body alone—though I imagine that true dreampants could be self-tailoring and will probably be laden with the soon to be standard compliment of vital-sign monitors and check one’s overall circulation and admonish the wearer if he or she becomes too big for his or her britches—but are moreover extensions of one’s distilled quiver of gadgets. One’s jeans and shirts would become control-panels and beacons for one’s electronic frontiers as intuitively (or not) as any other state-of-the-art implement.