Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year's Eve (and a happy birthday to my brother)

Tree House: 1923
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Tree House: 1923
Washington, D.C., 1923
All it says here is “Dept. of Agriculture”
Back when the place was run by the Keebler Elves
National Photo Company
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The perplexing case of the Poles and Nazis. Polish gentiles say they helped their Jewish neighbours. The evidence says otherwise... more

Circle Limit III animation
via Newton Excel Bach, not (just) an Excel Blog by dougaj4
And papers by the artist on how to do it are available at:
Comments and more links from PM2Ring:
  1. That image is an example of a tessellation of the hyperbolic plane, in the PoincarĂ© disc projection. Escher learned about this stuff from H. S. M. Coxeter, probably the greatest geometer of the 20th century.
  2. Hyperbolic geometry is fun. And it’s much easier to create regular & semi-regular tessellations in the hyperbolic plane than in the Euclidean plane. John Baez discussed this topic a little while ago: Archimedean Tilings and Egyptian Fractions [some gorgeous images].
  3. Modern Dutch graphic artist Jos Leys has done some nice work with hyperbolic tessellations:
    In 2D:
    In 3D:
  4. Also see images by PM2Ring from and early post in this blog:
Psychedelic, Surreal Close-Ups of Bubbles
via Flavorwire by Marina Galperina
London-based photographer Jason Tozer makes the surfaces of soap bubbles appear as prismatic landscapes, surreal giant orbs, and distant planets. How? It’s not magic. It’s a Hasselblad, a 135mm lens, and a lot of patience. Using a special lightning and composing technique of an illuminating perspex dome and a straw for gentle swirling action, Tozer creates psychedelic little planetary worlds that are beautiful but ephemeral – gone not with a bang, but a muted pop.
Spotted by Colossal, check ’em out in the slideshow, but shh. Shh. Gently, now.
Photographer Jason Tozer Turns Soap Bubbles into Mysterious, Colorful Planets planets macro bubbles

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Crises force us back to first principles. This is a moment for political philosophy, a moment for one of its most intelligent practitioners, Alan Ryan... more

Plan to Catalogue All of UK’s (Indoor) Public Sculpture
via LJ INFOdocket by Gary Price
From The Art Newspaper:
After its project to record the UK's 210,000 oil paintings in public collections, the Public Catalogue Foundation is now turning to sculpture.
By Martin Bailey: Web only
The plan is to produce the first illustrated database of sculptures in galleries and public buildings. No other country has attempted this. Andrew Ellis, the director of the foundation, estimates that there will be about 70,000 sculptures to cover. He wants to deal with those that are kept inside buildings, rather than in the open air (outdoor works are currently being recorded by the Public Monuments & Sculpture Association). Antiquities would also be excluded, so the foundation’s catalogue might begin with the medieval period. Work by both British and foreign sculptors would be covered.
Continue reading

1943 : Consumer Instruction Sheet – War Ration Book Two
via Retronaut by Ca McN

Full size here together with page two.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Reading is a physical act. Touching the page helps us to feel the words, to learn to feel ourselves. Can we hold digital texts in the same way?... more

10 Literary Parodies That Work
via Flavorwire by Emily Temple
Well, at least there’s one decidedly delicious thing to have come out of the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon. Quite literally delicious: this week sees the release of 50 Shades of Chicken: A Parody in a Cookbook, which details the sordid adventures of a young, inexperienced chicken as she gets her breasts and thighs handled by a chef – while serving up some excellent recipes for roasting chicken as well. It’s enough to make you snort that cooking wine right out of your nose. Inspired by this new and hilarious release, we’ve put together a list of ten literary parodies that totally work on their own merit – no mere joke books these.
Click through to see which we chose, and if we missed your favourite parody, be sure to add it to our list in the comments.

Bored of the Rings, Harvard Lampoon [unavailable on the Book Depository this link is to a used copy on Abe Books]
I love the real thing but this is ... awesome!
Oh yes. In this ludicrous send-up of Tolkien’s epic fantasy series, Frito Bugger is sent by his uncle Dildo Bugger and con artist/stage magician Goodgulf Greyteeth on a mission to steal the Ring of Power – along with Arrowroot, Legolam, Gimlet, Moxie, and Pepsi, of course. The gents of Harvard Lampoon twist all the characters you know and love to their own off-colour means, sending them trotting off down the path and mocking everything they meet along the way. The brilliance is that somewhere in there, the story takes on its own meat and becomes more than just a punny blow-by-blow, but a (raunchy, irreverent) story in its own right. A must for fans and decided non-fans alike.

Isaac Asimov The Foundation Trilogy (in 8 parts)
1. Foundations
2. Foundation and Empire
3. Second Foundation
The Foundation Trilogy is an epic science fiction series written over a span of forty-four years by Isaac Asimov. It consists of seven volumes that are closely linked to each other, although they can be read separately. The series is highly acclaimed, winning the one-time Hugo Award for “Best All-Time Series” in 1966.
The premise of the series is that mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept devised by Asimov and his editor John W. Campbell. Using the law of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale; it is error-prone for anything smaller than a planet or an empire.
It works on the principle that the behaviour of a mass of people is predictable if the quantity of this mass is very large (equal to the population of the galaxy). The larger the mass, the more predictable is the future. Using these techniques, Seldon foresees the fall of the Galactic Empire, which encompasses the entire Milky Way, and a dark age lasting thirty thousand years before a second great empire arises. To shorten the period of barbarism, he creates two Foundations, small, secluded havens of art, science, and other advanced knowledge, on opposite ends of the galaxy.
The focus of the trilogy is on the Foundation of the planet Terminus. The people living there are working on an all-encompassing Encyclopaedia, and are unaware of Seldon’s real intentions (for if they were, the variables would become too uncontrolled). The Encyclopaedia serves to preserve knowledge of the physical sciences after the collapse. The Foundation’s location is chosen so that it acts as the focal point for the next empire in another thousand years (rather than the projected thirty thousand).
Access the files here on the Internet Archive.
And if I had not lost the name of the person/organisation where I read this I would put an acknowledgement in.

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