Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ingrid Bergmanngr

Saw this yesterday and it stayed with me. The barely restrained passion is breathtaking. Forgot what a good actress she was.

Another Silly Time-Wasting Thing

to do on the internet.
Look in on Andrew Sullivan's View From Your Window Feature every Saturday (I love Saturdays although I missed This American Life Today and, wait, I have to turn on Radiolab), recognize nothing (okay, I got Paris once) and read all the selected answers on Tuesdays. People really get into it and it's sort of a mental puzzle for world travelers. I don't mind being an armchair traveler at all. Who wants to go on an airplane anyway?
I think today's is Cannes for no other reason than that I want to go to there and the film festival is there this week and one of my young FB friends who wisely left off newspapering and took up publicity is there and sending pictures of her breakfast. She likes the new Jack Sparrow movie, by the way, but then, she's young.

Friday, May 13, 2011


(Note: I have gone to some trouble — some, not a lot — to reconstruct a post that strangely and inexplicably disappeared just as it was being saved on Wednesday. Blogger went down and stayed that way much of yesterday. They called it maintenance problems. I call it uncanny.)

Douglas Adams, whose initials are DNA and who was born in Cambridge in 1952, the same day as...well, you know the rest, is receiving another periodic revivals over at MeFi. I guess May 11 was the 10th anniversary of his death, but book publishing anniversaries are also popular.
In the comment thread to the post calling attention to this piece was a cite to a speech of his I plan to keep in reserve. Because I will need it.
The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be, but we have done various things over intellectual history to slowly correct some of our misapprehensions. Curiously enough, quite a lot of these have come from sand, so let's talk about the four ages of sand.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Josh Marshall Hearts Newt Gingrich

There are a lot of right-wing performance artists now, but Newt invented the genre. Sort of like the let's-look-back at the first rappers.
And that's Gingrich, not a politician or even a mere huckster, but something much more than that, a right-wing performance artist who for a critical decade or so overlapped with the real world of electoral politics and ascended to the highest echelons of power. The almost appealing slasher barging in on the carefree picnic day of our political life.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Web Site O' Teh Day

The Library of Congress now has its full archive of historical sound recordings available online.
It's called the National Jukebox and this is Arthur Prior's band playing Temptation Rag.

Graphic Proof

I'm tempted to make a bunch of posters of this and slap them up everywhere. Maybe I will.
Sorry I can't make images fit, but click through at bottom or the link above.

Via: Medical Billing And Coding

Just Sayin'


A harmonic oscillator in classical mechanics (A-B) and quantum mechanics (C-H). In (A-B), a ball, attached to a spring (gray line), oscillates back and forth. In (C-H), wavefunction solutions to the Time-Dependent Schrodinger Equation are shown for the same potential. The horizontal axis is position, the vertical axis is the real part (blue) or imaginary part (red) of the wavefunction. (C,D,E,F) are stationary states (energy eigenstates), which come from solutions to the Time-Independent Schrodinger Equation. (G-H) are non-stationary states, solutions to the Time-Dependent but not Time-Independent Schrodinger Equation. (G) is a randomly-generated superposition of the four states (C-F). H is a "coherent state" ("Glauber state") which somewhat resembles the classical state B.

Some generous guy named Steve Byrnes contributed this gif to Wikipedia's entry on quantum physics, which I finally looked up today and, sure enough, it's all about math. Except when it's not.

...according to the theory of quantum decoherence, the parallel universes will never be accessible to us. This inaccessibility can be understood as follows: Once a measurement is done, the measured system becomes entangled with both the physicist who measured it and a huge number of other particles, some of which are photons flying away towards the other end of the universe; in order to prove that the wave function did not collapse one would have to bring all these particles back and measure them again, together with the system that was measured originally. This is completely impractical, but even if one could theoretically do this, it would destroy any evidence that the original measurement took place (including the physicist's memory).

Monday, May 9, 2011

Good Poem Today

I intended to stop republishing whole poems in a nod to copyright and all that. But then I realized hardly anybody but you — and you, and you — reads this blog so if they find me and tell me to desist, I will. If they threaten to sue, I will desist and laugh.

Blue Dementia
by Yusef Komunyakaa

In the days when a man
would hold a swarm of words
inside his belly, nestled
against his spleen, singing.

In the days of night riders
when life tongued a reed
till blues & sorrow song
called out of the deep night:
Another man done gone.
Another man done gone.

In the days when one could lose oneself
all up inside love that way,
& then moan on the bone
till the gods cried out in someone's sleep.

already I've seen three dark-skinned men
discussing the weather with demons
& angels, gazing up at the clouds
& squinting down into iron grates
along the fast streets of luminous encounters.

I double-check my reflection in plate glass
& wonder, Am I passing another
Lucky Thompson or Marion Brown
cornered by a blue dementia,
another dark-skinned man
who woke up dreaming one morning
& then walked out of himself
dreaming? Did this one dare
to step on a crack in the sidewalk,
to turn a midnight corner & never come back
whole, or did he try to stare down a look
that shoved a blade into his heart?
I mean, I also know something
about night riders & catgut. Yeah,
honey, I know something about talking with ghosts.