Thursday, August 30, 2007

...and I say 'thank you very much'


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Biosphere 0.995

"Postcard shots of the sublime"
on bldgblog

Monday, August 27, 2007


J'espère ça

Friday, August 24, 2007

Spoil 1.97

...on the meaning of 'behind':

PM 'not behind Wikipedia edits'

Public servants have been found to have edited Wikipedia entries.

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet says Prime Minister John Howard did not ask any of his staff to edit online public encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Staff from the department have been found to have made edits to Wikipedia entries on topics such as the "children overboard" affair.

The Prime Minister's office refused to confirm it would also blocked staff from editing Wikipedia, saying it was necessary to track down what had happened first.

abc online


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

...for whom?

Recently a junior researcher on gentrification in East Berlin has been charged under new German anti-terror legislation and, after being flown to Karlsruhe to appear before a federal court, is now being kept in solitary confinement in a federal prison. His crime seems to be that phrases from his published research appears in a left-wing group's pamphlets, abstruse words like "gentrification". I don't know if he actually does belong to the group, but he doesn't seem to be charged with actually doing anything, just possibly writing for them - clearly a heinous crime in our current condition. He apparently has also been under surveillance for more than a year in the lead up to the anti-G8 conference recently held in Germany.

I'm attaching English language background, an open letter, and the amazon link to his book. There's an open letter of solidarity on this web site:

If you click on "unterstuzung", then there's the letter that you can sign. A translation is attached, and there are more links on the site if your German is semi-robust. This would be a good issue to pass onto the Guardian if someone has contacts there.

from: Marxist Cultural Network [mailto:MCN@JISCMAIL.AC.UK], On Behalf Of Shapiro, Stephen, received by e-mail, 17.8.07

Monday, August 20, 2007

Stop! Hammer Time...

File 1.88 a myth is a myth is a myth

[...] Blumenberg reminds us that the mature mythology that we know from Homer, Hesiod, the Ramayana, from our informants in "primitive" cultures, and so on, must be imagined as the product of thousands of years of oral storytelling, in the course of which vastly greater quantities of stories, figures, and variations on earlier stories and figures were tested on audiences upon whose active approval the storyteller's success, perhaps even his livelihood, depended - and that as a result of such "testing" most of these were discarded as not having the impact that the surviving material has. In other words, the stock of myth that has come down to us in the product, not of a reverent process of handing down (such as comes into play with written texts...), but rather of an unsparing process of "natural selection", which Blumenberg in fact entitles the "Darwinism of words."
R.M. Wallace, "Translator's Introduction" in H Blumenberg, Work on Myth, MIT Press, 1985, p. xx

Sunday, August 12, 2007

CW Kolbe

Et in Arcadia Ego (reprise)

What, then, is the literal sense of this phrase? As was mentioned at the beginning, we are now inclined to translate it as 'I, too, was born, or lived, in Arcady.' That is to say, we assume that the et means 'too' and refers to ego, and we further assume that the unexpressed verb stands in the past tense; we thus attribute the whole phrase to a defunct inhabitant of Arcady. All these assumptions are incompatible with the rules of Latin grammar. The phrase Et in Arcadia ego is one of those elliptical sentences like Summum jus summa iniuria, E pluribus unum, Nequid nimis or Sic semper tyrannis, in which the verb has to be supplied by the reader. [...]
The correct translation of the phrase in its orthodox form is, therefore, not 'I, too, was born, or lived, in Arcady', but: 'Even in Arcady there am I', from which we must conclude that the speaker is not a deceased Arcadian shepherd or sheperdess but Death in person.
E. Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts, Penguin, 1987, p. 351-53.


biosphere 0.994

Rackham takes great delight in surprising his reader, often subverting popular notions that have calcified into myth. One old battle he fights is the idea that industry was always the great enemy of trees, and that enterprises such as iron smelting or shipbuilding brought ruin to woodland. The clarification he often repeats is the key difference between felling, from which the wood will recover completely in time, and grubbing out, which removes for ever the means of timber production. [...] He makes plain that what really laid our woods low was their supposed lack of economic value. In the twentieth century, this notion, coupled with an insatiable and partly subsidy-driven demand for the extension of agriculture, as well as the formation of the Forestry Commission in 1919, had baleful consequences. Between 1930 and 1990, Britain lost as much as a half of all the ancient woods that had survived since the time of the Domesday Book.
M. Cocker, "Trees' company", TLS Jan 12 2007, p. 7


Friday, August 10, 2007 (reprise)

Mein lieber S-
Kürzlich hatte ich Anlaß, sehr traurig zu sein. Ein dreister Dieb hat, während wir unser Mittagessen eingenommen haben, diverse Wertfächer aufgebrochen und etliche Wertsachen entwendet. Mir hat man meinen gesamten Goldschmuck gestohlen. Weißt Du, es ist gar nicht einmal so sehr der materielle Wert, obwohl nicht unerheblich, es sind vielmehr die Erinnerungen, die für immer dahin sind. An jedem einzelnen Stück hängen unterschiedliche Bindungen. Natürlich denke ich auch so an alle Vorangegangenen, aber das Sichtbare ist fort, es besteht auch keine Aussicht, etwas davon wiederzusehen. Es wird mich noch lange beschäftigen, ich denke tagtäglich daran.

My dear S-
recently I had cause for much sadness. A brazen thief broke into the safe and purloined numerous valuables while we were taking lunch. All my gold jewels were stolen and you know, it's not so much the material value, although not insignificant, that's lost forever, rather, it's the memories. Each and every piece had bonded different memories. Needless to say, I think of all those who went before us anyway, but the Visible is lost and there is no prospect of recovering it. This will occupy me for a long time, I think of it daily.

In 1673, Louis had his Flemish jeweller, Sieur Pitau, undertake the risky task of cleaving then cutting the Tavernier violet down to 67.125 carats, very nearly halving it in size, but doubling its value to 400,000 livres (1691). The cleavings soon vanished, but may have reappeared briefly in the nineteenth century as the so-called Pirie and Brunswick blue diamonds, both of which have since gone to ground. The Tavernier violet stayed with the French crown jewels, and eighty years later, it was mounted...into King Louis XV's elaborate, gem-encrusted badge of the Toison d'or, the Order of the Golden Fleece. [...]
In June 1791 the Toison d'or was confiscated, along with the rest of the French crown jewels, and stored temporarily at the Garde Meuble in Paris. Thence, following a break-in fifteen months later, the jewel was stolen. It may have been an inside job. Old gossip attributes to Georges-Jacques Danton the decision to break the Hope Diamond out of its setting, then use it to bribe the Duke of Brunswick, commander of the Prussian and Austrian armies, into retreating from Valmy, where untested revolutionary forces, outnumbered two to one, were preparing to resist invasion, the purpose of which was to rescue the Royal Family. The Prussian and Austrian manoeuvre, apparently otherwise inexplicable, provided the new Government in Paris with much-needed breathing space, and indeed the monarchy was abolished the day after it, on Sep 22, 1792.
A. Trumble, "Bedevilled by the deep Blue", TLS Feb 23 2007, p. 18


Spoil 1.96

A curious feature of the Cold War was the prohibition against travel abroad by Americans suspected of Left leanings. From 1952 until 1958, when the Supreme Court took a hand in the matter, passports were arbitrarily withheld or revoked [...] Thus for almost a decade only the true-blue, the politically and intellectually untainted, were permitted to travel abroad. I have often wondered if this accounted for the generally low esteem in which American tourists were held by Europeans.

J. Mitford, A fine old conflict, London, 1977, p. 175

Thursday, August 09, 2007

File 1.87


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

old masters


Ble Tonar fra Lom

wallpapers I have known