Posts Tagged “Blogs”

07w37:2 Brown Clark Nonfiction Search Engine

by timothy. 2 Comments


I first learned about Joe Clark through a Google Alert which let me know that he liked something I wrote enough to tag it with my name and ask rhetorically:

Who is this Tim Comeau and why is he not an esteemed colleague already?

I came back to Mr. Clark’s blog through a recent William Gibson interview (impending Gibson roundup on GR btw) which contained a link to Clark’s annotated Pattern Recognition site.

A recent posting goes off on Jess Brown, the new CBC Radio 1 show Search Engine and the ‘journalist’s Trampoline Hall‘ called Nonfiction, which began in June. Facebook has the event listing for the next Nonfiction meeting to be held on September 19th:

Non Fiction Sept 2007Nonfiction is a place for journalists of all kinds to tell stories that never made it to the public: stories killed by editors, blocked by producers, or self-censored by journalists themselves. These are the stories usually told privately, between journalists, and over drinks.

Featured speakers:
Ian Brown (and friends) on going long
” Ouimet” on clandestine corporate blogging
Paul Terefenko on why he recorded the last Nonfiction
Michael Adler on the one thousand indignities of writing for a community newspaper
Jason Anderson on film junket junkies
Kathryn Borel on why her therapist refuses to prescribe her antipsychotics despite her looming book deadline

hosted by Jesse Brown

Produced by Nonfiction: Kathryn Borel, Jesse Brown, Ian Daffern, Jeremy Gans, Sheila Heti, Geoff Siskind, Dave Wells

Mr. Clark’s first report from June 21st made three good bullet-points, of which I’m quoting the third:

The show came to a halt halfway through. On arrival, one had been presented with a “program” (actually just a postcard) declaring ALL STORIES TOLD AT NON-FICTION – suddenly it’s hyphenated – ARE CONSIDERED OFF THE RECORD AND MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN PRINT, BROADCAST OR CONVERSATION. Yes, these junior fascists want you not to even talk about what happened. (Then why was there a cash bar? What are we supposed to talk about, the weather?)

Exactly. Why sell tickets to something you can’t talk about? Clark goes on to report:

It all came to a head when our host, tall, handsome, affable Jesse Brown, acted like an RIAA lawyer or a security goon with binoculars at a Rush concert and accused somebody of recording the event. Would that person like to come onstage? Well, of fucking course they wouldn’t. But, a moment later, up trotted Paul from Now, who plausibly and apparently honestly explained he’d just gotten there, hadn’t been warned, and had asked people if it was all right to record. (The answer he got was, in essence, ‘meh.’)

But as we can see in the event listing, this outrageous act has only earned Mr. Terefenko’s a place on the stage at the next show.

What’s really alarming about this kind of thing is the explicitness of there being two streams of public dialogue. What exists in print (and thus the historical record) and what can exist spoken between people. I know what Antonia Zerbisias spoke about because it was told to me over a meal and drinks, where I also shared unprintable facts about things. Am I corrupted by the knowledge? Am I a danger to myself and society for knowing these things?

Do we need more evidence that our ideas that we live in a democracy are false?

I mean, sure, we have enough freedom of speech to sell tickets to the airing of secrets, but freedom of the press has apparently vanished beneath the concerns of advertisers and the censorious pen of editors.

What I’d like to critique about Nonfiction is the use of the image from Suicide Food, a blog which assembles the understandably morally outrageous and disgusting depiction of animals attempting to enjoy their fate as human meals.

Links below are to Clark’s somewhat amusing grumpiness about Nonfiction, Jesse Brown, and Search Engine. (Search Engine‘s site, btw, is linking to its eponymous Google Alert roundup, and saying this about Clark’s words:

Joe Clark of Toronto has some scathing words for us on his personal weblog (WARNING: some profanity).

07w30:1 The Notebook

by timothy. 2 Comments


Truth be told, I prepped this Goodread a day before the hardrive on my notebook computer crashed, and so I’ve had to do it all over again. Which I think is worth sharing, given the subject matter of this GR – the traditional paper notebooks, a medium endangered by fire but not by mechanical failure and magnets. It’s now become a cliché statement to say that as our the data of our world moves further and further toward the digital, the danger of losing it all one day becomes greater and greater. Nevertheless, it is statement worth repeating given that notebooks have always been about the repition of passages and quotes that can become cliché through their preservation.

This GR is celebrating the digitization of some notebooks, particularly those of Leonardo Da Vinci, a hardcopy of which is now viewable at the Art Gallery of Ontario over the summer. This notebook (Codex Forster I) having achieved Da Vinci’s dream of flight to arrive here from London’s Victoria & Albert Museum last visited our city when it was exhibited at the ROM during the summer of 1998, where I first got the chance to see it. Going by the poster and mismemory, I thought the AGO was exhibiting the same spread as the ROM had, and yet, through one of the links below, I was able to remember correctly and see that the AGO is exhibiting pages 6v|7r while the ROM had shown 15v|16r. Further, the ROM had kept the pages open with a clear vinyl strap, whereas the AGO has the book displayed in an angled cradle, in its own illuminated box, beneath a piece of glass without a transparent vinyl holder. At the AGO it is accompanied by a flash animation (‘Geometrical Solids’), which can aslo be accessed at the same link.

Secondly, a section on commonplace books, the old name for what we now call notebooks, or as some have argued, blogs. This selection was inspired by hearing Anthony Grafton’s wonderful lecture on the Slought Foundation website, which is there available as an AAC file, and which I’ve also made available as an MP3.-Timothy


Leonardo’s Notebooks

Leonardo da Vinci Notebooks | V&A Museum

e-Leo | Biblioteca Leonardiana
// sign in (‘accedi’) with user: goodreads pass: goodreads and then click on `sfoglia i manoscritti` and the chose the notebook from the left hand menu (`Madrid I, Madrid II, and Atlantico)

Commonplace Books

Literary Honeycombs: Storage and Retrieval of Texts
Before Modern Times | Anthony Grafton

AAC file (from Slought Foundation)
MP3 file (Goodreads Mirror)

Commonplace | Wikipedia
“Commonplace books (or commonplaces) emerged in the 15th century with the availability of cheap paper for writing, mainly in England. They were a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. They were essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: medical recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and humanists as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they had learned. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator’s particular interests”.

Long S | Wikipedia
The long, medial or descending s (Å¿) is a form of the minuscule letter ‘s’ formerly used where ‘s’ occurred in the middle or at the beginning of a word, for example Å¿infulneÅ¿s (“sinfulness”). The modern letterform was called the terminal or short s.

From Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book Library

Commonplace Books | Beinecke Rare Book Library

Osbourne b205 | Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

William Hill’s Commonplace Book | Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Sartaine most holsome meditations | Peter Mowie

Johann Sigmund Kusser’s Commonplacebook

Tobias Alston’s CPB | Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Robert Herrick’s CPB | Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Richard Cromleholm’s CPB | Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

William Camden’s CPB | Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

The Book of Brome | Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Manuscript Guide

MS327 | Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

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07w26:1 A Variety of Links Lunk and Thoughts Thunk

by timothy. 2 Comments

An overview: Since the last Goodreads arrived in your inbox,

  • Rob Labossiere was kind enough to review the first of my Timereading Series, Outdoor Air Conditioning on Sally McKay’s blog (but I had nothing to do with the gun-cock-cop)
  • I felt the need to comment on the recent Luminato festival over at my blog.
  • Commentator LM asked last week (at Jennifer MacMakon’s Simpleposie) why I wasn’t included in the recently opened MOCCA show featuring disagreeable artists, since I (along with Eldon Garnet and Thrush Holmes) piss off and irritate lots of people.
  • I also found time to contribute to the discussion on Sally McKay’s thoughts on the Toronto art-scene here (but I wish she could have deleted my accidental dupe).

In blog news, after surviving cancer, Cedric Caspesyan has apparantly realized life is too short for the art-world’s mean people, Chris Hand’s Zeke’s Gallery blog has been apparently sued out of existance (and yet, the ads remains) and Franklin Einspruch doesn’t plan to update his blog until the Fall.

I did manage to develop a Goodreads podcast link, to provide an alternate and direct way to access whatever mp3 links I find (and have found):

Supporting the Troops

Meanwhile, three Canadian soldiers died last week prompting the City of Toronto to reverse the decision to remove the stupid ‘support our troops’ decals on firetrucks and ambulances in favor of leaving them on indefinitely since pacifists are still considered more loathsome in our society than the people who actually volunteer to kill. And if you think I’m exaggerating, consider that Afghani President Hamid Karzai was shown on the CBC news last Saturday night complaining about NATO’s heavy-handed tactics of ‘shelling a village from thirty-some kilometres away’ and killing civilians in the process (ref video clip here; CBC related here and here).

The report went on to say that as of Saturday, (23 June) 90 Afghan civilians had been killed in the previous ten days. Notice that this report was buried on the Saturday 11 o’clock news, and that when things like this are reported, suddenly it’s the problem of the ‘NATO coalition’ and Canada’s pride at the fact that the Cdn forces are the ones doing most of the heavy-lifting in the region is obfuscated. But we have to support the troops, or keep our mouths shut otherwise, and ignore the ratio that 3 Canadian lives are worth more to our conscience than the 90 or so people who were alive at the beginning of the month, whose names and faces we will never know, and who ‘we’ are not supposed to be there to accidentally kill but rather to accidentally help, through what could be called ‘aggressive peacekeeping’ in the bullshit lingo of the military.

I also write this in light of seeing last April the Frontline World report (video available on July 9th) on the Canadians in Afghansistan, which prompted commentator Alex March from Edmonton to say: ‘I am afraid the Canadians are treating the Afghanistan people with a combination of traditional Department of Indian Affairs false promises and CISIS paranoia. Sad it will cost many lives unnecessarily,’ with a rebuttal by one of the soldiers Mr. Annoymous, who tells us the reporters did what they typically do, which is to obfuscate and simplify, which of course prompted a response by the filmmakers … and… on and on, the cycles of animosity never do end to they?

Andrew Cash wrote about the decals in Now Magazine during the first week of May, notable to me for including this facile sentence indicative of the whole problem of the ‘support the troops’ sloganeering (people choosing stock phrases rather than a conscious awareness of what they’re saying): ‘Who among us isn’t deeply saddened by the news of ever increasing numbers of uniformed Canadians killed or seriously injured in the war.’ I stand up to say I am not deeply saddened because I don’t pretend to be an idiot out of social convention. Out of a population of heroin users I understand some will turn up as corpses with needles hanging from their tourniquet arms. Similarly, I understand that some soldiers going to war zones will come home in body bags. Why should I feel upset about either when it’s continually presented to me as a fact of the world that no one seems to have any intention of changing? If we do want to change it, how about we start by stopping the rhetoric and unquestioning support of militarism? Therefore, I don’t support the troops.

The Human Union

I found this when I was researching the Human Network links below, although I have to ask, why do progressive websites often display such poor design?

From ‘The Human Union Declaration’ found on the site:

To force me to act in compliance with a political system that goes to war against my fellow humans is a denial of my humanity and I will resist such efforts to the best of my abilities.

To force me to act in compliance with a political system which discriminates politically against my fellow humans is a denial of my humanity and I will resist such efforts to the best of my abilities.

Human Union

The Human Network

The recent anniversary of the Tienanmen Square Massacre prompted PBS’ Frontline to rebroadcast their April 2006 documentary The Tank Man, which is available online at the Frontline website, in four parts. In the fourth and last part, Yahoo!’s complicity in facilitating Chinese censorship led into a report that Cisco Systems has sold the latest technology to China to enable such control of information. I laughed when I heard this, given how Cisco’s latest advert campaign, launched last autumn, announces itself as facilitators of ‘the human network’. Interestingly, their commercial features Toronto, leading to one of those WTF? moments – is it because we have the world’s largest communications tower? Is it because relational aesthetics is hot here? Nevertheless, the scene illustrating ‘welcome to a world where people subscribe to people and not magazines’ in which girls meet up in front of City Hall through coordinating on their phones inspired me somewhat. I like the idea of living in a city where people subscribe to people and not magazines. But I also have this sense that Goodreads has managed to blur the two – a subscription to a webzine/Mr. Timothy person. If only more people bought me diner….

The Tank Man | PBS Frontline

Welcome to the Human Network on YouTube

Welcome to the Human Network| Cisco Systems


Welcome to the world where people are subscribing to people via Facebook. I joined Facebook at the end of April.

Let’s face it, Facebook is here to stay | Michael Geist

Facebook banned for Ontario staffers | Robert Benzie
// it’s great how this story is illustrated with a picture of an old man


The Art World by its nature is nepotistic. Jerry Saltz had a problem with that a few months ago:

Not Buying It | Jerry Saltz

Some Links I found myself forwarding to friends

On Shakespeare

Shakespeare: the Biography (Paperback) | Peter Ackroyd
// I’m currently reading this biography of Shakespeare and it’s so so good. Yes, that’s two so’s for emphasis, not a typo.

In Search of Shakespeare | Michael Wood
// I saw this when it was first broadcast on PBS in 2004. It was so good I actually found it haunting. Especially the bit with the photographs. When I found the accompanying book later that year in a remaindered store, I of course bought it.

On Teenagers

Trashing Teens | Hara Estroff Marano

Chomsky on Pomo

On Postmodernism | Noam Chomsky
“Now Derrida, Lacan, Lyotard, Kristeva, etc. — even Foucault, whom I knew and liked, and who was somewhat different from the rest — write things that I also don’t understand, but (1) and (2) don’t hold: no one who says they do understand can explain it to me and I haven’t a clue as to how to proceed to overcome my failures. That leaves one of two possibilities: (a) some new advance in intellectual life has been made, perhaps some sudden genetic mutation, which has created a form of “theory” that is beyond quantum theory, topology, etc., in depth and profundity; or (b) … I won’t spell it out.” // Haven’t I sent this out before? If I haven’t, I always meant to.

The Norman Finkelstein Case

Dear Canadian Universities: you should hire this guy and prove that you’ve got more going on than the so-called superior American schools.

The Commonplace Cowardice of Responsible Professors; What the Finkelstein Tenure Fight Tells Us About the State of Academia | Robert Jensen

Noam Chomsky Accuses Alan Dershowitz of Launching a “Jihad” to Block Norman Finkelstein From Getting Tenure at Depaul University | Democracy Now!

“It Takes an Enormous Amount of Courage to Speak the Truth When No One Else is Out There” — World-Renowned Holocaust, Israel Scholars Defend DePaul Professor Norman Finkelstein as He Fights for Tenure

Norman Finkelstein | Wikipedia

Good riddence Blair

British Author Tariq Ali on the Resignation of Tony Blair: ‘The Fact That He’s Leaving is Because He’s So Hated’

Selections from Democracy Now!

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson Slams His Friend Mitt Romney for Flip-Flopping on Abortion, Stem Cell Research, Torture in Attempt to Win GOP Presidential Nomination

John Perkins on “The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption

The Task Force Report Should Be Annulled – Member of 2005 APA Task Force on Psychologist Participation in Military Interrogations Speaks Out

100th Anniversary of Rachel Carson: Remembering the Woman Who Helped Launch the Environmental Movement

In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Burst

In Rare Joint Interview, Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn on Iraq, Vietnam, Activism and History

From SDS to Life After Capitalism: Z Mag Founder Michael Albert on Activism, “Parecon” and a Model for a Participatory Society

Howard Zinn Urges U.S. Soldiers to Heed Thoreau’s Advice and ‘Resist Authority’

Legendary Broadcaster Bill Moyers Returns to Airwaves With Critical Look at How U.S. News Media Helped Bush Admin Sell the Case for War

Fighting Fascism: The Americans – Women and Men – Who Fought In the Spanish Civil War

Abraham Lincoln Brigade ‘Represents an Important Part of the American Soul’ – Harry Belafonte Pays Tribute to U.S. Vets Who Fought Fascism in Spain

Banned by Army: Folk Singer Joan Baez Can’t Sing to Wounded Soldiers at Walter Reed
2007-05-04 // Of course I feel the need to point out here that maybe the reason Joan Baez was uninvited to sing for wounded soldiers was not because of politics but because young hurt boys would probably prefer a Britany Spears tits-and-ass show than an ethereally voiced sixty-something ex-hippy.

Mother’s Day for Peace: A Dramatic Reading of Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation

Studs Terkel At 95: ‘Ordinary People Are Capable of Doing Extraordinary Things, and That’s What It’s All About. They Must Count!’

George Monbiot: If We Don’t Deal with Climate Change We Condemn Hundreds of Millions of People to Death

Author Paul Hawken on ‘Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming’

War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death

Charles Taylor Roundup

A roundup of the Charles Taylor content I’m aware of, and which flourished after he won the Templeton Prize.

The Enright Files – A Celebration of Charles Taylor | CBC Ideas [Goodreads Mirror]
Michael Enright, host of The Sunday Edition, in conversation with the Canadian philosopher, thinker and winner of the 2007 Templeton Prize, Charles Taylor.

Modern Social Imaginaries | Charles Taylor & David Cayley [Goodreads Mirror]
What makes modernity different from all previous ways of life? Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor talks to IDEAS producer David Cayley about what makes us modern.

Charles Taylor’s Modern Social Imaginaries and Cultural Transmission Theory | Mark E. Madsen

Charles Taylor and the Hegelian Eden Tree: Canadian Philosophy and Compradorism | Ron Dart

Canadian philosopher strikes paydirt | Michael McGann

Charles Taylor ‘Religion and Violence’ | Charles Taylor
// I was at that lecture (standing-room only!) and posted my lecture notes for Goodreads 05w08.3

Religion and Violence | Charles Taylor
Religion and Violence explores the complex relationship among modernity, religion, and categorical violence – namely, violence directed against people on the basis of their belonging to a certain category or group. Professor Charles Taylor will discuss the rising tide of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and terrorism, and ask what connection this phenomenon has to modernity.

Charles Taylor on Religion and Violence | The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright
Real Audio file on the above lecture, recorded a week later (48.53min)

Philosophy, spirituality and the self – Part 1 | The Philosopher’s Zone ABC Radio [Goodreads Mirror]
Charles Taylor, the distinguished Canadian philosopher, has just been awarded the Templeton Prize, the world’s most highly endowed award for intellectual achievement. This week on The Philosopher’s Zone, he talks to ABC Radio National’s Tom Morton, about how we are intellectually and how we got to where we are.

Philosophy, spirituality and the self – Part 2 | | The Philosopher’s Zone ABC Radio [Goodreads Mirror]
Charles Taylor, the distinguished Canadian philosopher, has just been awarded the Templeton Prize, the world’s most highly endowed award for intellectual achievement. This week, we hear the second part of his conversation with ABC Radio National’s Tom Morton, about how a moral view of the human self might be possible in an age of scepticism and neo-Darwinism. And Danny Postel, senior editor of returns to the program with news of Iranian dissident journalist, Akbar Ganji, who is touring the West talking to eminent philosophers and political thinkers.

Manuel Delanda Roundup

Since Darren sent me the link which I included in the last Goodreads (reproduced below) I found more Delanda stuff, which I quite enjoyed listening to at work, and which lead me to get his books, A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History and A New Philosophy of Soceity.

Manuel DeLanda on Deleuze | Manuel DeLanda
wrote Darren: “here’s an interesting video of manuel delanda taking a trip through deleuze and it’s not all that confusing”

From Manuel DeLanda Annotated Bibliography:

Manuel DeLanda, ‘Deleuze and the Use of the Genetic Algorithm in Art’ presented at the Art & Technology Lectures, Columbia University, New York, 08.04.04
// (Real Video, 84 mins)

Manuel DeLanda, Democracy, Economics and the MilitaryÕ presented at Democracy Unrealized, Vienna, 20.04.01
(Real Video, 62 mins)

Deleuze Day 3 | Tate
(Real Video, 50 mins)

Manuel DeLanda, ‘Nature Space Society’ presented as the first Nature Space Society lecture at the Tate Modern, London, 05.03.04
DeLanda argues for a Deleuzian philosophy of nature. In the first half he rejects a sharp distinction between culture and nature. He demonstrates instead the direct interaction between the biological and social, citing examples from William McNeill’s Plagues and Peoples, and Alfred Crosby’s Ecological Imperialism. We must dismiss social-constructivism’s obsession with language and cultural representation. In the second half, DeLanda argues that, in order to avoid this provincial anthropocentrism, we must be realists, but not essentialists. We must historicize nature, and replace ideas about ‘laws of nature’ with Deleuze’s singularities (special, topological points) and affects (the capacity to affect and be affected).(Real Video, 3 hours)

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07w17:1 Roundup

by timothy. 1 Comment

Hello. This is a roundup of some things I gathered in the weeks since I sent the last Goodreads. What else happened? I spoke at March’s Trampoline Hall on ‘Morality as a Form of Idealism’; I was a filler, since the first person scheduled got into an accident. This follows on me being on a panel discussion at the end of February when I was also made to feel like a filler, and so, it occurred to me last month that my career as a second-rate speaker appeared to be well under way. I hope to get up to first rate by the end of the year. If not, I’ll need to get a better agent.

There was also a big ceremony marking the 90th anniversary of Vimy Ridge. They couldn’t wait another ten years for a ceremony apparently, but they will obviously be jumping through those hoops again in a decade’s time. Now, a century marker, I could understand, by the 90th was just more propaganda to remind me that the Canada I knew and loved is being lost to patriarchal militarism and unquestioned loyalty to George Bush’s incompetent, ignorant, and colonial vision of global affairs.

There was also Easter and stuff … and well, I’m drawing blanks. This wasn’t meant to be too long. A bit of second-rate fill to the real text that belongs here which is:

Breaking News

The announcements of kryptonite, and the discovery of an Earth-like planet, both occurred today.

Just in time for the Globe & Mail’s redesign to make it look as it would have looked in a 1980s science-fiction movie set in the 21st Century, featuring headlines ‘Earth Like Planet Found’ or ‘Kryponite Discovered’ or ‘Alberta building rocketship to rape new resource’ etc. – Timothy


Goodreads YouTube / GoogleVideo Compilations:

Why We Fight

Fredric Jameson lecture, speaking in 2002

Adam Curtis’ The Trap
// Adam Curtis’ latest documentary was broadcast on the BBC in March and has since been posted on Google Video. I added these to the Adam Curtis compilation page already present on Goodreads, with links back to the Google Video source, where they can be watched larger and downloaded. I loved this series – since 2001 I’ve thought the rise of a interest in religion had a lot more to do with American propaganda for a war against believers, non-believers and evildoers and all that, but this makes me think the real reason is a backlash toward the simple-minded view of human beings as self-interested economic agents, which is how we were supposed to think of ourselves throughout the 1980s and especially 1990s. People understand they are more complex than that, and so far, religion has provided a framework to encompass an idea of ‘humanity’ denied by trendy theories. I would also argue that art and literature also provides a complicated vision of human beings, but since the Humanities have been turned into a linguistic mush of critical discourse and over-heated arguments of resentment, people are defaulting to religion for their models and answers and attempts at understanding. But here, I don’t want to say one is better than the other. From my own experience, I feel the worst of religion is balanced by the best of Humanities, and the worst of the Humanities is balanced by the best of religion creating a complimentary relationship with one another, and any attempt at understanding the complexity of humanity should take into consideration what the best of both traditions of the imagination have to offer.


Recommended by Darren O’Donnell

A Grammar of the Multitude | Paul Virno

Manuel DeLanda on Deleuze | Manuel DeLanda
writes Darren: “here’s an interesting video of manuel delanda taking a trip through deleuze and it’s not all that confusing.”


Slow News Cycle Obscure Story Recycling:

Parasite ‘turns women into sex kittens’ | Jane Bunce
// article date: December 26, 2006

compare with this article, posted in Goodreads 04w06:2

Dangerrrr: cats could alter your personality | Jonathan Leake
“They may look like lovable pets but Britain’s estimated 9m domestic cats are being blamed by scientists for infecting up to half the population with a parasite that can alter people’s personalities […] Infected men, suggests one new study, tend to become more aggressive, scruffy, antisocial and are less attractive. Women, on the other hand, appear to exhibit the ‘sex kitten’ effect, becoming less trustworthy, more desirable, fun-loving and possibly more promiscuous.”

A cosmic hall of mirrors

the one above interviews one of the fellows who co-authored the below article, from the April 1999 Scientific American:

Is Space Finite? | Luminet, Starkman, Weeks

and likely to show up again in the future:

The universe is a string-net liquid | Zeeya Merali


Week in Review April 16-22 2007

Nations’s Papers React to Getting Everything About … Backwards

Goodbye, Sanjaya, I Will Miss You! | Maureen52
// One of the funniest things I’ve seen all week, and once again, a reminder of the obsolescence of video art and galleries in the age of iMovie and and YouTube.

Sanjaya: Something To Talk About 4-17-07 Top 7 | American Idol

McCain ‘sings bomb iran’
// If this counts as singing…what did he say after the edit? It seemed to be a way of re-phrasing the question, ‘when do we send an airmail message to Tehran?’ asked by a hawk in the audience.

This past week the lastest version of Ubuntu was released, a Linux operating system gaining popularity. It was named Ubuntu after the African philosophy:

Ubuntu | Wikipedia


If you can carry it to the counter, you don’t need a bag to take it from the store, unless it’s like raining and you don’t want it to get wet

Drop that plastic bag – go natural | Zou Hanru

San Francisco to ban plastic grocery bags | CNN


Do we agree?

Pirates versus Ninjas | Wikipedia


Art-like stuff

Andy’s Early Comics Archive – A History of Picture Stories | Andy Bleck

Restoring the home of Nicephore Niepce
“It was in this house … that Niepce invented photography” // This ten minute documentary includes reattempts at the first photographs and I was fascinated to see the way archaeology was used to determine the exact position of the first camera to create the first images.

How Art Can Be Good | Paul Graham

‘They Don’t Know’
// what have you done with your hands lately?

Black Tambourine | Beck
//Bad experiences with Beck fans has biased me against him for years, although I do have his first two albums. When I saw this video while channel surfing (which, is like, a miracle considering music-video stations never play music videos anymore) I thought maybe I was over my bias.

Befriend an artist? Are you kidding? | Jonathan Jones,,1991391,00.html
Today’s critics have got too cosy with the artists they write about, says Jonathan Jones, kicking off a series of debates on the Guardian arts blog

‘My Generation’ | The Zimmers

China Provokes Debate in Africa | Walden Bello

Ten Lashes Against Humanism | Jorge Majfud
“Not long ago, Doug Hagin, in the image of the famous television program Dave’s Top Ten, concocted his own list of The Top Ten List of Stupid Leftist Ideals. If we attempt to de-simplify the problem by removing the political label, we will see that each accusation against the so-called US leftists is, in reality, an assault on various humanist principles. ”

Confucius topples Harry | Steven Ribet
“It took Yu Dan only six weeks to topple JK Rowling and become the most successful author in Chinese history.But it wasn’t tales of wizards and magic that sparked hysteria in the world’s most populous country. The Beijing academic has managed to make the 2500-year-old words of Confucius, China’s most famous thinker, relevant in the 21st century. ”

Dead Plagiarists Society | Paul Collins

Bad Lingo: Blog-Media Cliches

President or King? | Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr., and Aziz Huq
“Not even a seventeenth-century monarch was allowed to ignore checks on power the way President Bush has.”

Plastic clogs disrupt machinery in Swedish hospital | The Guardian,,2061288,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=1

10 Most Bizarre People on Earth


CBC Ideas Podcasts

In Other Words | CBC Ideas Podcast
Have you ever read Don Quixote? There are several English translations of it. Which Don Quixote was it? Or how about Anna Karenina? Unless you are fluent in the original languages in which these works were published, you’ve read them through the prism and sensibilities of that most underestimated of literary artists – the translator. Barbara Nichol discusses literary translation with some of its most gifted practitioners.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Flesh and Stone: The Sociology of Richard Sennett
The American sociologist Richard Sennett has had two great themes: the history and design of cities, and the organization of work. As a lover of cities, he has celebrated the expanded sympathy that urban life makes possible; as a student of work, he has criticized the fragmentation of time in the new capitalism; and as a writer, he has elevated sociology to a literary art. He talks with IDEAS producer, David Cayley.

Part 1
Part 2

The Ideas of Jerome Kagan
Harvard’s Jerome Kagan is a pioneer in developmental psychology. His specialty is studying children. He’s also a philosopher of his science. In a conversation with Paul Kennedy, Jerome Kagan reflects on nature vs. nurture, emotion and the quest for meaning.
// I especially liked Kagan’s breakdown of the rise of Freudianism in the first half of the 20th Century:

Jerome Kagan: Freud made some very strong statements, for example: all children pass through three phases; an oral phase in infancy, an anal phase during the second year, a phallic phase, a genital phase … that all are neuroses, all are neurotic symptoms: insomnia, depression, fearfulness, they’re all a function of repression of our conflicted urges, primarily sexual. Now, none of that is true. So here’s the puzzle: why did so many (leave me out of it) why did so many brilliant, erudite, educated people not just in the sciences but in the humanities believe that? That’s the puzzle.And the only approach to an answer I can come to is that he spoke to the intuitions of Americans. I should point out that in the early part of the 20th Century, Europe was not very friendly to Freud, it was America and England. America and England were Protestant countries with a much more prudish attitude toward sexuality. And so here is my attempt at some sort of an explanation. The availability of cheap contraceptives toward the end of the 19th Century meant that young men and women could begin to think about sexual activity outside of marriage, otherwise you couldn’t, especially if you were middle class. So now you’re allowing these thoughts to bubble up, but there’s a lot of tension and shame and uncertainty about it. So it’s sitting right on the cusp of consciousness and creating a sort of tension and what I think happened was the tensions that are due to a sick child, losing your job, your parent having cancer, frustration with your boss … that all those tensions, which have nothing to do with sexuality were interpreted as due to the conflict over sexuality. That’s the only why I can understand why this idea – coincidentally, which I believed when I was 21 years old, I thought Freud was absolutely dead right …. dead right.

Paul Kennedy: It would be hard to believe anything else because that was the orthodoxy as you say.

Jerome Kagan: Yeah, but there was a minority of scholars who rejected it. I mean not everyone thought it was a good idea, but many people did. I’m sure the explanation I just gave can’t be all of it. There have to be other factors, but someone smarter than I will have to come up with it. But at least the explanation I just offered I think makes some small contribution. But it is amazing.


Subsection on Cultural Memory

Why do geeks have lust for ZFS? | Paulius

Scientists: Data-storing bacteria could last thousands of years

Sparta? No. This is madness | Ephraim Lytle

‘300’: Fact or fiction? | Victor Davis Hanson

Das Google Problem: is the invisible mouse benevolent? | Tony Curzon Price

We’re all ’80s kids now | Raju Mudhar


The Disappearing Bees

Why are Niagara’s bees dying? | Dana Flavelle

Cellular phone uses linked to bee deaths | Dana Flavelle

Are mobile phones wiping out our bees? | Geoffrey Lean



Paleo-Futurism: A Look into the Future that Never Was | Matt

‘You Will’ Ads | AT&T (1993)
// concept videos for the present life which wasn’t brought to us by AT&T

Knowledge Navigator | Apple Inc (1987)
// a concept video produced by Apple in 1987 for an interface.


France vote!

France: The Precarious Generation: Au revoir job security | Charlotte Buchen and Singeli Agnew

France’s intellectual election | Patrice de Beer

France’s Female Presidential Candidate Is Building a Political Machine I Stefan Simons,1518,451566,00.html

France, Land of Inequality | Der Speigel,1518,456999,00.html



Swiss man jailed for Thai insult

Follow up:

Man Pardoned for Insulting Thai King | Sutin Wannabovorn

also in the wtf? department:

Complaints filed against Richard Gere
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05w03:3 To Whom it May Concern

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 3 number 3 (to whom it may concern)

Joey Comeau has been writing satirical cover letters and sending them along for some time now, and they are all archived on his website, There’s no direct relation between him and I, although I’m sure we share an 18th Century grandfather. The link below is to the index of past cover letters, and a chance to subscribe to his mailing list. – Timothy


Overqualified: A new letter every Tuesday | Joey Comeau
“Looking for work is an exercise in selling yourself. You write cover letter after cover letter, listing the parts of you that you respect the least, listing the selling points that make you valuable in a buyer’s market. You leave out the little details that you tell yourself in the morning to make things okay. You don’t mention the way your heart flutters when you meet your lover’s eyes across the table, the way your feet felt like lead at your aunt’s funeral. You write cover letter after cover letter, listing the same store bought traits in the same wording, day after day, hoping to find another job. And then maybe one day you just snap a little. You sit down to write a cover letter, and something entirely new comes out. And you send it anyway.”

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emailed by Timothy on Friday 21 January 2005 @ 6:49 PM

05w01:2 A Letter from Her Father

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 1 number 2 (a letter from her father)

Prada Princess is the moniker and blog of an anonymous New Yorker, who recently came into a substantial trust fund and is obsessed with Lindsay Lohan. Her blog chronicles her problems with her family, her attempts to buy property rather than continue to “waste money on rent”, and more than one entry is in response to the nasty comments she receives for being such a rich bitch. Her father, understandably, is dismayed, concerned as he is about his daughter’s irresponsibility. Prada Princess has shown herself to be thin skinned, superficial, compassionless, and not that bright, and her father has written her a letter, which she has posted on her blog. – Timothy


A letter from my Father | Prada Princess
“Besides your indolent treatment of your finances and family, my other chief concerns is the way you treat your time which is more valuable than any amount of money in the world. Money can be lost and gained but time can only be lost. I lie awake at night with this fear that you will not have found your way and end up becoming a spinster who lives alone with her 20 cats becoming bitter and angry with the realization that any opportunity to create meaning in your life is long past. Your trust fund does not give you the right to do anything you want. It is an actually responsibility that has been given to you. And you are failing miserably in fulfilling it. As parents we have failed in raising you properly and now your life is entirely out of our hands and we are helpless to to assist you. […] I beg of you to please wake up and think very hard about who you are and what you are doing with your life besides focusing on dreams that will never come to fruition. You have many years ahead of you, please you use them in a productive manner and review your life. The last thing I want to do is compare you to your older sister. But my heart wells with great pride with her accomplishments. I am not telling you to become a doctor, get married to a lawyer and raise a family in Palos Verdes. If you yearn to become a doctor and get married then do it. If you desire to become an English teacher at Exeter that’s fantastic too. But on this New Year please pick a path and walk it.”

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emailed by Timothy on Monday 03 January 2005 @ 6:02 PM

04w14:1 Blogs

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 14 number 1 (blogs)

On Blogging, Paul Martin and Changing the World | Mara Gulens
“Much more than simple online rants, Web logs actually fulfill the primary role of the Internet, claimed Mark Federman, chief strategist at the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto, and the co-author of the recently published McLuhan for Managers — New Tools for New Thinking. […] Blogs are an example of the new reflexive response to globalization. Connected individuals respond to what they see and make their views known. At times they even organize themselves into instant masses of people, sometimes with powerful effects.”

Notes on blogging | Terry Teachout
“1. It’s almost impossible to explain what a blog is to someone who’s never seen one. That’s the mark of a true innovation. […] 6. Blogging puts professionals and amateurs on an even footing. That’s why so many professional writers dislike and distrust it. […] 10. Blogs will be to the 21st century what little magazines were to the 20th century. Their influence will be disproportionate to their circulation.”

Guest Posting — Toby Thain | Michael von Blowhard
NOTE: This post is about digital photography, as Michael has posted an email he recieved from an Australian professional photographer on the difference between digital vs. film. However, the thoughts expressed in the intro are interesting in themselves, and from that I take this teaser. – Tim
“In my years of following the arts, the biggest story has seemed to me to be the digitification of culture. […] I went into the culture field wanting to yak about books and movies (etc), and to add some product of my own to the culture stream. Instead, wham: along came computers — and for the last 15-20 years, what’s been most visible in the arts is the way that the various fields are reconfiguring themselves as digital waves sweep through them. We wouldn’t have rap music if music hadn’t gone digital. Magazines, ads and television wouldn’t look the way they do if it weren’t for computers. Bookselling superstores depend on databases. Copyright, distribution, the final experience of culture itself — all are up for grabs because of digital technology.”

Tables of Contents | Michael von Blowhard
“Before it’s useful, a ToC now has to be its own intense media experience. I’d argue that these super-ultra-hyper ToCs are also intense electronic-media experiences. Their values — flash, twinkle, fwoof — aren’t the values of traditional magazines; they’re values that come from TV and computers. Tatyana may disagree with me on this, but I’ll also venture that the newfangled ToCs are functions of the computer age. In the first place, of course, Quark and Photoshop are the tools that make this kind of layout possible. In the second place (and as a simple fact of the media biz), the computerizing of the corporate media has given concept people — producers, editors, and designers especially — more power than they used to have, while it has taken power away from such content people as directors and writers. A consequence is that boxes, graphics, visuals, and themes — stuff that producers, editors and designers love — have become an ever more prominent part of our media life. When you buy a big-budget magazine, you’re buying boxes, graphics, etc: a lot of overproduced showbiz, an artifact akin to what the contempo moviebiz is selling.”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 30 March 2004 @ 4:11 PM