Saturday, 21 April 2012

10 stories and links I think are educative, informative, entertaining, or weird

Secret Heroes [Who are yours?] via An Awfully Big Blog Adventure by Pauline Fisk
I was sitting in a local coffeehouse when the background music struck up with a few immediately recognisable guitar notes, followed by Leonard Cohen's voice intoning Suzanne takes me down... Immediately a shiver ran down my spine, not because I loved the song so much, but because I'd been reading about Cohen in the Guardian [the Dorian Lynskey interview] and had just got to the bit about Suzanne when up she popped in Starbuck's music stream. Synchronicity, or what?
Continue reading here and move from Leonard Cohen to Hans Christian Andersen via some unlikely heroes.
Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The other Vitruvian Man. The image of a man inside a circle and a square was thought to be the work of Leonardo. But the genius had company... more
Does neuroscience deny free will? via 3quarksdaily by Morgan Meis
I assume that right now, you are not following these words because there is a gun pointed at your head or you’ve been hypnotised. Until such time as a benign dictator makes reading the FT compulsory, it seems the most self-evident fact in the world that people who buy it do so of their own free will. Yet for centuries there have been those who have argued that “seems” is all there is to this feeling of freedom. Advances in neuroscience have given the free will deniers new impetus. The ace in the pack is the work of the late Benjamin Libet, which neuroscientist Sam Harris says in Free Will shows that “some moments before you are aware of what you will do next ... your brain has already determined what you will do. You then become conscious of this ‘decision’ and believe that you are in the process of making it.” For the likes of Harris, evidence like this shows that the absence of free will is now scientific fact, not philosophical theory. But as other new books on the same issue show, it’s far more complicated than that.
more from Julian Baggini at the FT here.
Another reason why real books will never die via Reading Copy Book Blog by Richard Davies
I give you a pictorial reason why real books will always have a place in my heart, and the hearts of many other folks.

Behold a 1904 edition of The Vicar of Wakefield published by J.M. Dent and Co in a full vellum binding produced by the master bookbinders, Chivers of Bath. You don't get this on an e-reader.
More pictures of this magnificent book here.
Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Prisons and profits. Is there any greater disconnect between public good and private interests than the rise of corporate-owned jails?... more
Museum of Thieves via How-To Geek by Asian Angel
In this game you are lured to the mysterious Museum of Dunt where adventure and an evil force awaits. Can you find the differences in the museum’s strange, shifting rooms as you work your way through it or will the restless evil that dwells within escape?
As always the choice is yours: read Asian Angel’s walk-through here or dive straight in to the game here.
Oxygen Found on Saturn’s Moon. And Life? via Big Think by Orion Jones
NASA’s Cassini probe has detected a thin layer of oxygen in the atmosphere of Dione, one of Saturn’s moons. Since scientist believe there to be no life on Dione, the presence of oxygen is perhaps even more interesting.
Read More
Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Cremation is in, metal coffins are out. On the agenda: How to manage mass fatalities. Welcome to the National Funeral Directors Conference... more
Labors of the Months, 1400s via Retronaut by Chris
The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry is a very richly decorated Book of Hours. It was painted sometime between 1412 and 1416 by the Limbourg brothers for their patron Jean, Duc de Berry. Featured here are the Labors of the Months, the section illustrating the various activities undertaken by the Duke’s court and his peasants according to the month of the year. Wikipedia
  • January: The Duke’s household exchanges New Year gifts - the Duke at right in a blue robe.
  • February: A typical winter's day. Some peasants warm themselves by the fire, another peasant chops wood, and still another goes to market.
  • March: Sowing the field. In the background is the Château de Lusignan, a residence of Jean de Berry.
  • April: A young couple exchanging rings. In the background is the Château de Dourdan.
  • May: Young nobles riding in a procession. In the background is the Hôtel de Neslé, the Duke’s Paris residence in Paris.
  • June: Harvest. In the background is the Palais de la Cité with the Sainte Chapelle clearly identifiable on the right.
  • July: The shearing of the sheep. In the background is the Palace of Poitiers near Poitiers.
  • September: The harvest of the grapes. In the background is the Château de Saumur.
  • August: Falconry, with the Duc’s Château d'Étampes in the background. [I know, but that’s the order the pictures are in!]
  • October: Tilling the field. In the background is the Louvre.
  • November: The autumn harvest of acorns, on which pigs are feeding.
  • December: A wild boar hunt. In the background is the Château de Vincennes.
Source: Public Domain Review
My choice for an image to show you is --- October for the sheer absurdity of French peasants in the 15th century wearing clothes in bright colours to till the fields. (Actually all the peasants shown look to be very well dressed.)

How Often Are Your Memories Incorrect? via Big Think by Orion Jones
Researchers in the UK have just completed one of the largest ever studies of human memory and preliminary results indicate our recall of even basic events is quite fallible. In the study, individuals were shown pairs of words like CUPCAKE and CARDBOARD.
Read More

No comments: