Saturday, 20 October 2012

And here are another ten oddities for your delectation!

Is Mythology Like Facebook?
via 3quarksdaily by Azra Raza
by John Bohannon in Science LIVE
Myth versus reality. The social network of characters in an ancient Irish myth is similar to actual social networks, suggesting it was based on reality.
Credit: R. Kenna and P. Mac Carron
How can you tell if an ancient story is completely fictional or based on reality? One method, says a team of physicists, is to map out the social network of the characters and test whether it looks like a real social network. When they used that method for three ancient myths, they found that the characters have surprisingly realistic relationships.
Ancient stories are called myths for a reason. No one believes that Beowulf, the hero of the Anglo-Saxon epic, slew a talking monster named Grendel. Or that the Greek gods described in The Iliad actually appeared on Earth to intervene in the Trojan War. But historians and archaeologists agree that much of those ancient narratives was based on real people and events. The supernatural features of the narrative were then layered onto reality.
Continue reading here

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The literary history of sex. When it comes to debauchery, to voyeuristic enjoyment of pain, Christian Grey is no Marquis de Sade... more

History of optical toys
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
 Articles Wp-Content Uploads 2012 07 Edited Phena Fantascope3
Over at Collector’s Weekly, Ben Marks traces the history of optical toys from the 19th century, from Thaumatropes to Phenakistoscopes (discs seen above) to Zoetropes. All of these devices played on the persistence of vision, the phenomenon in which a series of still images appears to be one continuous moving image.
Thaumatropes from the early 1800s are perhaps the first optical toys to suggest how tantalizing moving pictures could be. In 1825, a London physician named John Ayston Paris produced a set of six paper cards, which were packed in a round container and sold as a “Thaumatropical Amusement”. The label on the container made the toy’s educational and scientific purpose explicit: “To illustrate the seeming paradox of seeing an object which is out of sight and to demonstrate the faculty of the retina of the eye to retain the impression of an object after its disappearance”.
Dawn of the Flick: The Doctors, Physicists, and Mathematicians Who Made the Movies
Completely fascinating!

View Great Art For Free On These 6 Inspiring Websites
by Yaara Lancet via MakeUseOf
The Internet’s boom brought many great things with it, including access to places we might otherwise never visit. This accessibility goes hand in hand with the fact we don’t leave our chairs as much as we used to; and why should we? It’s all available right there, on our computers. In other words, as computer geeks, many of us don’t get out much. For example, when was the last time you visited your local museum? I know it’s been ages for me. I only get to see art when I take a trip aboard, and those are few and far between.
The obvious solution to this art problem would be to get off the chair and go visit a museum. Excellent solution. Another great solution would be to enjoy amazing art right from your chair, with the plethora of free art offered by many museum websites. Sure, it doesn’t solve the immobility problem – you should still get up from you chair every now and then – but it does give you the ability to enjoy art, not only from your local museum, but from all over the world. It’s free, it’s beautiful, and it could provide a a cultural boost to an otherwise uninspiring day.
I’ll let you find out which six Yaara chose. Suffice it to say it did not include my personal favourite, The Prado in Madrid. And I managed to find an image of one of my absolute favourite pieces here.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The Paris Ritz. For Proust it was a refuge; for Scott and Zelda it was home; for Hemingway it was heaven - all for $17,770 per night... more

Abstinence Spending Deserves a Little Credit for the Decline in Teen Pregnancies
via Big Think by Marina Adshade
The one thing you can count on in social science research is this: Inquiry will continue until the preferred hypothesis has proven to be true. Proponents for abstinence only sex education are no doubt celebrating new evidence that, on the surface at least, supports their belief. Before funders put their research dollars away, however, they might want to read the fine print first.
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How Giving Your Time Away Makes You Feel Less Pressed for Time
via Big Think by Orion Jones
If you feel that having a limited amount of time is a source of stress in your life – and who doesn’t from time to time – a good way to cope with that stress may be to give some of your precious time away.
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
James Joyce was a raconteur and a barfly. He wrote pornographic letters to Nora, the “man-killer”, and preferred a low figure of speech, the pun... more

St. Clair Tunnel: 1905
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive - Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
St. Clair Tunnel: 1905
Port Huron, Michigan, circa 1905
“St. Clair Tunnel”
Oh, and please note: “No Admittance”
8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co.
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Yunwoo Choi’s Amazing Sculptures Inspired by Multiple Dimensions
via Flavorwire by Emily Temple
“What is real? Where am I living? What do I perceive is the real?” artist Yunwoo Choi asks. “Are invisible things – like my emotions, supernatural phenomena, dreams, God, Tao – real? Do they have some space of their own? Are people really living in the same plane or dimension even though they feel differently about the same situation? These questions are the starting point for my work.”
Choi’s enormous, mindboggling sculptures, which we first spotted over at Visual News, are crafted out of magazines and newspapers and suspended in space, inspired by his readings on theoretical physics and multiple dimensions, works by the philosopher Ken Wilber and Taoist and Buddhist texts. “With this idea of overlapping dimensions,” he writes, “I have begun to think that invisible and intangible matter physically exist in those hidden spaces.”

We don’t know whether these sculptures represent multiple dimensionality or not, but we do know that they kind of blow our minds. Click through to see some of our favourite pieces from Choi’s collection, and then be sure to head over to his website to check out even more of his work.
My personal favourite from those shown on Flavorwire?

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