LAST UPDATE April 2, 2020
Debate over the royalty free "National Emergency Lending Library"
"Why the National Emergency Library Is So Controversial - The Internet Archive describes the downloadable collection of more than one million books as a library, but critics call it piracy." Story at Smithsonian Magazine
Statistical graphs showing data on coronavirus - Statistica
Health: Vascular health related to sleep durations
Info about long snoozing and thus better arterial health at News Medical
Raphael tapestries at 500 years
Raphael, working for Pope Leo X, produced the work for the tapestries which are now (temporarily) reinstalled at the Sistine Chapel, recreating the appearance of the chapel 500 years ago (the only difference being Michelangelo's The Last Judgement, installed on one of the walls, which was painted after Raphael's tapestries).
Story at La Repubblica [in Italian]
In Washington DC
In the gut
Scientists examine how a gut infection may produce chronic symptoms
Article examines how the immune system "must strike a careful balance" between squashing attacks happening in the gut and doing too much that could lead to damage.
"Inflammation helps the gut ward off an infection, but too much of it can cause lasting harm," says Daniel Mucida, an associate professor and head of the Laboratory of Mucosal Immunology. "Our work explores the complex mechanisms that prevent inflammatory responses from destroying neurons."
To understand the effects of an infection on the nervous system, Mucida and his colleagues gave mice a weakened form of Salmonella, a bacterium that causes food poisoning, and analyzed neurons within the intestine. They found that infection induced a long-lasting reduction of neurons, an effect they attributed to the fact these cells express two genes, Nlrp6 and Caspase 11, which can contribute to a specific type of inflammatory response. "
Story at Medical Xpress
Buying copyrights on Pop Songs as a legit investment
The story is about Merck Mercuriadis and how IP ownership can be a way to generate very high levels of income. The most interesting part of the article was:
"He’s considering launching a songwriter’s union, something akin to the Screenwriters Guild, that would give songwriters more leverage to extract better deals from the industry’s power brokers."
Story at Medium
The relatively short lifespan of a pop song should make this sort of investment a process with certain amount of trepidation. Musical styles come in (often with a generational change) and then fade out like any fashion does, or at most, with the generation that embraced it.
Guitarist Pat Martino experienced severe retrograde amnesia after brain surgery. Post-operation he was uninterested (and unaware) of his old skills (and even his own name), but the hearing of an annoying minor ninth chord began the reclaimation of his old music skills and then general memories.
"Martino’s return to virtuosity, say neuroscientists, exposes the rooms and secret doorways of memory in the brain. In the 2014 World Neurosurgery report, Galarza noted that after carving out 70 percent of somebody’s left temporal lobe, with some underlying damage to the hippocampal region, physicians might expect a patient to have “almost complete memory loss.”
The left temporal lobe, Galarza explained, is “directly involved” with verbal auditory memory, talking, and understanding speech. A battery of cognitive tests in 2007 revealed Martino had a hard time relaying the meaning of some abstract and uncommon words and defining more common ones. Shown a picture of a corkscrew, for example, he was only able to muster, “It’s used to drill off ... a wine bottle.” When asked when the Beatles came to America, Martino said sometime between 1961 and 1963 (he was close; it was 1964). But when asked to name a Beatles song, the musician said he couldn’t name a single one."
Full story at Getpocket
National Review: Puzzling over Meaning in Winslow Homer's Kissing the Moon
Writer Brian T. Allen talks about understanding Homer's large painting (30" x 40" inches) painted toward the end of his life and how it may be an image echoing classical "River Styx" imagery.
More about this at Art and Artifice
January 9, 2020
Identical twins take DNA test, but only get "almost" identical results
DNA testing may be showing that an individual's profile may emphasize a particular racial background and minimize another, that gestation/birth really does produce a "unique" person through combinations of things so varied that it can't be predicted as if by algorithm.
Story at Minneapolis Post
When does a scientific paper use (or not use) rational proof?
This reminds me of something I read decades ago in which a letter in a magazine demanded scientific proof be required to show how the control functioned in the research, and if there even was a control.
December 21, 2019
Malaria is a deadly problem in many places around the globe, and this article at Forbes shows that Minestrone helps. Malaria appears in a fashion similar to flu or cold. Using 56 soup samples, a test was run on a centrifuge to identify how well each type fought parasite replication (how malaria spreads). Two particular minestrone vegetable soups showed effective help against the parasite.
December 8, 2019
The dawn of the 21st century
1995 is still with us 25 years later - story at the 1995 blog about the rise of the internet.
June 2019: When I was a kid in high school I read The art game again! by Robert Wraight and this gave me an amateur's jaundiced eye toward how the contemporary art world operated, though this didn't last after actually working as a picture framer in an art gallery. My observation was that the relationship between the seller and the buyer wasn't much different than the one found in any retail environment.
Spiderman: Far from Home
July 9, 2019: It is interesting how this superhero film takes time to celebrate the past assemblage of outfits worn by Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) in previous Marvel/Disney movies, a celebration of nostalgia serving the story but also re-affirming within the 2 hour, 9 minute movie the powers of nostalgia to bind the audience to the dramatis persona, that is, this franchise of Marvel/Disney films.
There is the irony, though, that the movie Spider-Man Far from Home has illusion as one of the main ingredients of the tale (as most exaggerated through the super-villain, Mysterio, who is a master of illusion as he battles Spider-Man). A great number of things within the tale are not what they appear to be, as if the film is warning us about itself.
"While on this topic, we may as well offer an ill-considered opinion of our own as to the - intention of the poet in the delineation of the Dane. It must have been well known to Shakespeare*, that a leading feature in certain more intense classes of intoxication, (from whatever cause,) is an almost irresistible impulse to counterfeit a farther degree of excitement than actually exists. Analogy would lead any thoughtful person to suspect the same impulse in madness -- where beyond doubt, it is manifest. This, Shakespeare - felt -- not thought. He felt it through his marvellous power of - identification with humanity at large -- the ultimate source of his magical influence upon mankind. He wrote of Hamlet as if Hamlet he were; and having, in the first instance, imagined his hero excited to partial insanity by the disclosures of the ghost -- he (the poet) - felt that it was natural he should be impelled to exaggerate the insanity."
- Edgar Allan Poe, review of Hazlitt's Characters of Shakespeare, from The Broadway Journal, August 16, 1845
Poe addresses the issue of whether Hamlet is nuts (or not) as Shakespeare's play unfolds, and Poe comes out and says the obvious: Hamlet cannot be nuts (or not nuts) because he doesn't exist, he is a creation on a page, and he cannot be analyzed as a real person, only the author and the author's intentions can be analyzed.
* Poe spells Shakespeare in the original publication as "Shakspeare"
More Poe at eeweems.com
Implying the Others
"Jean Rousset’s critical scope transcends the boundary of the word. For him ballet, painting, and the lyric, as well as sculpture, tragicomedy, and architecture, are analogous, even interchangeable products of successive, radically different zeitgeists. Shared by all the arts of a given period are repertories of themes, technical devices, and stylistic procedures, each implying the others."
From The Knot of Artifice, by David Lee Rubin, page 4
An overview of writings on typography at New Criterion (specifically Palatino: The Natural History of a Typeface by Robert Bringhurst, and The Noblest Roman: A History of the Centaur Types of Bruce Rogers by Jerry Kelly and Misha Beletsky.)
Data Mining shows 80% of older works once in copyright are now public domain
Story at Boingboing
While a small amount of listings have been digitized, the majority of listings from the Library of Congress (which manages copyright in the United States) shows that it still requires digging to find out which works are in and out of copyright.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein at 200
An extensive overview of Frankenstein through the ages, the varieties of versions of the story, and especially a review of the book "Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds."
Story at Lawfareblog
July 28, 2019
One Ghurka against 40 train bandits
"Lone Nepali Gorkha who subdued 40 train robbers "
"The band of about 40 robbers, some of whom were travelling as passengers, stopped the train in the Chittaranjan jungles in West Bengal around midnight. Shrestha-- who had boarded the train at Ranchi in Jharkhand, the place of his posting--was in seat no. 47 in coach AC3.
“They started snatching jewelry, cell phones, cash, laptops and other belongings from the passengers,” Shrestha recalled. The soldier had somehow remained a silent spectator amidst the melee, but not for long. He had had enough when the robbers stripped an 18-year-old girl sitting next to him and tried to rape her right in front of her parents. He then took out his khukuri and took on the robbers.
“The girl cried for help, saying ´You are a soldier, please save a sister´,” Shrestha recalled. “I prevented her from being raped, thinking of her as my own sister,” he added. He took one of the robbers under control and then started to attack the others. He said the rest of the robbers fled after he killed three of them with his khukuri and injured eight others."
Complete story at Blackfive
Emphasis on realism in the arts
Contact me at erik @ erikweems.com