winter chill to the bone

winter chill to the bone

winter chill to the bone

It makes an Even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain —
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again —

It reaches to the Fence —
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces —
It deals Celestial Vail

To Stump, and Stack — and Stem —
A Summer’s empty Room —
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them —

It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen —
Then stills its Artisans — like Ghosts —
Denying they have been —

Emily Dickinson


lava lamp and eight track wallpaper, some culture notes, this is what wing-nut welfare looks like

Some cultures notes:

“If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels.” from Conversations with Tennessee Williams. Today is the anniversary of “Tennessee” Williams death, February 25, 1983. Williams wrote some of the most famous critically acclaimed plays of any American playwright. Some of which were made into movies, including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Rose Tattoo, Orpheus Descending, The Night of the Iguana, Sweet Bird of Youth, and Summer and Smoke.

The Night of the Iguana is on my personal top 100 movies list. Not suitable for younger children. Adeline Virginia Woolf ( 25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was around for the new wave of art and entertainment called moving pictures. She wrote an essay about this wild new media phenomenon in 1926, Virginia Woolf on the Language of Film and the Evils of Cinematic Adaptations of Literature

People say that the savage no longer exists in us, that we are at the fag-end of civilization, that everything has been said already, and that it is too late to be ambitious. But these philosophers have presumably forgotten the movies. They have never seen the savages of the twentieth century watching the pictures. They have never sat themselves in front of the screen and thought how for all the clothes on their backs and the carpets at their feet, no great distance separates them from those bright-eyed naked men who knocked two bars of iron together and heard in that clangour a foretaste of the music of Mozart.

What do you think – do movies bring out the savage in us. Are they the end of culture and civilization.

lava lamp and eight track wallpaper

lava lamp and eight track wallpaper

While I am not among the millions of fans of Elizabeth Gilbert’s of Eat, Pray, Love, this travel essay she wrote for GQ is very good, Long Day’s Journey

sometimes in life, there is a thing you long for so deeply that you are willing to wait for years—almost lying in ambush!—until you can get it. Suppose there’s a woman you’ve always desired, but her heart belongs to another. You wait with one ear to the ground for the day you hear she’s left her fiancé, and then you approach. Or maybe there’s a job you’ve always fancied, or a wristwatch, or a car.

Even lusting in one’s heart is no longer politically correct. Though if you don’t tell anyone you can get away with it. It is fine for Elizabeth since she is a writer and has rent to pay.

The next two links are just two of the thousands if not millions ( literally) of what conservative welfare looks like:

Along with The Franklin Foundation and it’s professional propaganda machine we also have the Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, and may the forces of the universe have mercy on this nation’s children, John Stossel, The Right-Wing Money Putting John Stossel In School Classrooms

The program now offers hundreds of free clips from Stossel’s shows and specials that claim to seriously address a range of academic subjects, including Art (“Why does Hollywood Hate Capitalism?”), Biology (“Debunking Food Myths”), and History (“The Real Story of Thanksgiving,” which explains “how the Pilgrims were hurt by sharing”).

“Stossel in the Classroom” also produces libertarian economics courses. The small team of economists that writes materials such as “Making Economics Come Alive with John Stossel” has multiple close ties to the Stavros Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Economic Education at Florida State University.

The videos on the site are stacked with pundits echoing Stossel’s radical laissez-faire views.

If anyone is wondering what is wrong with laissez-faire economics, just think all the way back to the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008.

Why Does Glenn Beck Love Laissez-faire Capitalism, Yet Wants To Force All Cable Subscribers To Pay For His Conspiracy Theory Channel

Beck started promoting on Monday, asking fans to demonstrate to their television provider that there is wider demand for the libertarian channel. If his channel does get picked up by cable television providers, anyone who pays for cable will subsidize Beck’s channel, regardless of whether or not they watch it. As The New York Times explains, TV channels get small per-subscriber fees, whether or not the subscribers ever watch.

If Glenn Beck and his cult of followers want their own channel, that’s fine. Though why campaign to force this stellar product down everyone’s throat. We’re all already subsidizing Fox News. Why can’t Beck make his channel a premium channel like HBO. Those that want to subscribe can pay for it. If it is a great product the market will decide if it lives or dies. Just like the Randian style live or die capitalism he says he believes in.

Les Fumeurs or The Smokers by Fernand Leger

Les Fumeurs or The Smokers, 1911. By Fernand Leger in the Cubist style.

frosty morning sparrow wallpaper, physics of spidey webs and thor’s hammer

frosty morning sparow wallpaper

frosty morning sparrow wallpaper



These sound like issues that would be argued about on The Big Bang Theory, but this one is an actual research paper by a group of physics students, Physics students say Spiderman’s webbing would be strong enough to stop a moving train. One of the images was was playing around with in Photoshop yesterday had some leaves with frozen ice crystals. Though when you looked closer you could also see a spider web thread stretched from one leaf to another. To be able to make fabric or cable that strong, that could also stand up to freezing weather, from organic materials would be an amazing accomplishment. The link is to the abstract and once you get there you can download the pdf of the paper if you like. While this news release is the response of a physicist to something astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said on Twitter, Thor’s Hammer Is Not That Heavy (But It Is Scientifically Interesting)

“The critical mistake Tyson makes is thinking that Mjolnir was forged of the core of a dying star, when it was actually forged in the core of a dying star,” says Suveen Mathaudhu, a program manager in the materials science division of the U.S. Army Research Office, adjunct materials science professor at NC State and die-hard comics enthusiast. “It’s well documented that the hammer is made out of ‘Uru,’ a fictional metal from Thor’s native realm of Asgard.”

And Mathaudhu can cite documentary sources to back him up. For example, Marvel – which publishes the Thor comics – issued a “Thor’s Hammer” trading card in 1991 that states Mjolnir is made of Uru and weighs precisely 42.3 pounds. That’s lighter than a herd of 300 billion mice, much less a herd of 300 billion elephants. But it raises a different science question.

Using the dimensions and weight on Marvel’s trading card, Mathaudhu estimates that the density of Mjolnir is about 2.13 grams (g) per cubic centimeter (cc). That makes it even lighter than aluminum, which has a density of 2.71 g/cc. So what could possibly be that light and strong?

Mathaudhu has a theory.

“Perhaps Uru is the ‘holy grail’ of high-pressure physics: a form of metallic hydrogen,” Mathaudhu says. “Some predictions of the density of metallic hydrogen fall into this range, it requires extreme conditions to form, and could be a tremendous energy source. It’s thought to be present at the core of planets, such as Jupiter, and at the core of suns – which are stars, after all.”

While Tyson made a mistake in calculating the weight of Thor’s hammer, he succeeded in drawing attention to the sciences of astrophysics and materials science – which is a good thing.

Sheldon would probably claim he already knew that.

I wasn’t going to make this whole post a nerd fest, but since I’ve already started, Mars May Be Habitable Today, Scientists Say. It seems that Mars, Antarctica and Chile’s Atacama Desert share some extreme climate qualities. In the two earthly ones, despite from extreme conditions there are microbes that survive with only the tiniest amounts of water. Since mars seems to have some moisture on occasion in some places, similar microbes may live there as well. 


some black and white photography, the ironically named franklin center an atm machine for conservative news propaganda

let's party like it's 1980

let’s party like it’s 1980. a black and white photo from my older – not old, collection. Those born in 1980 would only be 33 now, and that is not old. I added some dust and starches.

The homeless and unemployed of the Great Depression wait in line seeking shelter in New York

The homeless and unemployed of the Great Depression wait in line seeking shelter in New York, 1930. Another photo I liked. I did not do much in the way of effects with this because it is an original news wire photo. The contrast between the people, the side walk and the construction barrier provides plenty of composition effect.

leafless tree german countryside

leafless tree German countryside. i’m not crazy about how this Creative Commons picture was framed. because of the shape of the tree, it’s sparseness and that of the background, it seems to me that he/she would have gotten a better picture if it was a little off-center. i included it because i like how the tint and softening  turned out in Photoshop.

rachel mcadams red heels

rachel mcadams red heels. i haven’t done a photo with this type of effect for a while. they’re tedious to do with a computer mouse. i wish they had not killed off her character, Irene Adler in Game of Shadows. maybe they’ll use some movie magic to bring her back for the next one.

This is as close as I’ll probably come to doing a post on the Oscars. If you like architecture and design this is interesting, And The Oscar Goes To: Top 10 Contemporary Buildings In Movies. They include Frank Gehry’s controversial Disney Opera House, and one of the houses used in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.


Why do I find this sad, Astrophile: Evaporating planet shows how worlds vanish

What liberal media? Franklin Center Top Donor Is Right-Wing’s “Dark Money ATM”

Nearly all of the 2011 funding for the conservative Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which oversees state news sites nationwide, came from a single foundation that has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to right-wing causes, according to a recent report of the Center for Public Integrity.

[  ]…The group’s editors have claimed that their “professional journalism” work is walled off from the organization’s more nakedly political operations that include seminars and webinars promoting conservative journalism coverage with staffers from The Daily Caller and They contend their “pro-taxpayer, pro-liberty, free market perspective” doesn’t compromise their accuracy or independence.

A lot of the news stories that end up n your local newspaper are basically propaganda written by the Franklin Center. In addition to the irony of naming themselves after a radical free-thinker like Franklin their top priority is not liberty or free enterprise, but to push the trickle down economics responsible for an era of record inequality in wages. Of all the work produced by American workers, the vast majority of it is being redistributed from the workers who create the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, to the plutocrats at the top.

mielikki’s winter landscape wallpaper

mielikki's winter landscape wallpaper

mielikki’s winter landscape wallpaper

Mielikki is the old Finnish pagan god of forests and the hunt.

Mother of God, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Made a Movie About Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws…

Snitch, directed and co-written by ex-stuntman Ric Roman Waugh, is a family drama about a father (played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) who reunites with his estranged son after the kid is thrown in prison due to Draconian mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

…But in all seriousness, Johnson is an adept actor who handles the heavier emotions and grittier sequences here with ease and gravity. And Snitch is The Rock’s best critique of the War on Drugs since the satirical press-conference scene at the beginning of the 2010 Will Ferrell comedy The Other Guys—where New York cops played by The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson heartily defend inflicting $12 million worth of property damage in order to bust some criminals carrying only a quarter-pound of weed.

Unlike some action stars of the past,  like Arnold Schwarzenegger – who mastered one acting technique, being a menacing robot, Johnson can do the action and act. As an actor he doesn’t have all the control in the world about how screenplays are directed, given their overall tone or philosophical direction. Given that, most of his movies do lean more progressive than others. In real life he has expressed concerns over various social issues, abet in a soft spoken way. So it is not surprising that given the opportunity he has taken on punitive drug laws.

Oklahoma State Sen. Clark Jolley (R) seems to have read up on the worse tendencies of authoritarians regimes of the last hundred years. Instead of learning what not to do, he has taken lessons in governing from said regimes, Welcome to Oklahoma, Otherwise Known as The Conservative New Order of The Midwest, May Deny Women Affordable Birth Control Because It ‘Poisons Their Bodies’. Oral contraceptives are safer than aspirin. Yet one of Clark’s quack doctor friends says they “poison” women’s bodies. The ideology involved here may seem confusing. Conservative’s idea of being pro business is to allow corporate polluters to poison your water and air. They don’t care if you’re poisoned by toxic chemicals, only birth control pills. Conservatives say they are against government interfering in people’s personal lives, yet what could be more personal than having the government make one’s reproductive decisions for them. Maybe Jolley and Dr. Dominic Pedulla should be tested for drugs, especially hallucinogenics, before anyone passes any laws based on their ‘expert’ advice.

Weird news or new weird phrase to learn before the robots with AI take over, Roko’s basilisk

According to the proposition, it is possible that this ultimate intelligence may punish those who fail to help it, with greater punishment accorded those who knew the importance of the task. This is conventionally comprehensible, but the notable bit of the basilisk and similar constructions is that the AI and the person punished have no causal interaction: the punishment would be of a simulation of the person, which the AI would construct by deduction from first principles.

culture watch: stoning and time travel, the evolution of human language, the ultimate tree house

Graphic: Anatomy of a Stoning in Iran

We look at the brutal practice of stoning in Iran. This method of execution is still practiced in certain countries, where it is used to punish adulterers and other criminals. The graphic below looks at how a stoning occurs in accordance with the exact language of the Iranian Penal Code.

Even in the form of an illustration this is horrifiying to look at.

Time reversal findings may open doors to the future

The time-reversal process is less like living the last five minutes over and more like playing a record backwards, explains Matthew Frazier, a postdoctoral research fellow in the university’s physics department. When a signal travels through the air, its waveforms scatter before an antenna picks it up. Recording the received signal and transmitting it backwards reverses the scatter and sends it back as a focused beam in space and time.

The knowledge of the science behind this concept has been around for a couple of decades. With the technology now catching up to the theory, scientists hope to be able to do things like target tumors in the body or something simpler like recharge your laptop.

Something to ponder. How human language could have evolved from birdsong

Based on an analysis of animal communication, and using Miyagawa’s framework, the authors say that birdsong closely resembles the expression layer of human sentences — whereas the communicative waggles of bees, or the short, audible messages of primates, are more like the lexical layer. At some point, between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago, humans may have merged these two types of expression into a uniquely sophisticated form of language.

	AT&T Employees Display Futuristic Phone

AT&T Employees Display Futuristic Phone. “At the annual meeting of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company, two employees examine a possible “telephone of the future.” 1960-04-20. Note that the phone she is holding has a dial. I’ve used a dial phone. Compared to today’s push button or voice activated calling, dialing is like milking a cow for your morning cereal.

The maple of Ratibor.

The maple of Ratibor. From The picture magazine. George Newnes Ltd., 1893-1896. Pub. 1893. Credit: Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection / Gardens. I had a tree house when I was a kid, if two planks laid across two tree branches count. This one is far beyond anything I even dreamed of.

beautiful winter snow and tree wallpaper, old cast iron fence

beautiful winter snow and tree wallpaper

beautiful winter snow and tree wallpaper


New injectable hydrogel encourages regeneration and improves functionality after a heart attack

There are an estimated 785,000 new heart attack cases in the United States each year, with no established treatment for repairing the resulting damage to cardiac tissue. Lead researcher Karen Christman, a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, said the gel forms a scaffold in damaged areas of the heart, encouraging new cell growth and repair.

How Second Amendment mythologies—and the market—have taken over the gun-violence debate

And the one thing that the great men choreographing our Kabuki-style debate over gun rights have ensured is that we can’t have any honest discussion about such weapons themselves. If the last twenty years or so of political stalemate on the gun front have taught us nothing else, it’s that the traffic in automatic weaponry designed to maximize bloodshed is a sacrosanct individual right, vouchsafed by the country’s founders in the Second Amendment to the Constitution. In reality, this mythic notion is of very recent vintage, and runs counter to everything about the actual wording and historical context of the Second Amendment. The doctrine of individual rights as the basis of gun ownership was formally inscribed into constitutional law only as a result of the US Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision, which overturned the District of Columbia’s handgun ban. That major legal decision—together with the millions of dollars that the gun industry’s lobbying arm, the National Rifle Association, lavishes on the political system—has effectively reduced the prospect of any substantial ban on assault weapons into what’s known in the debased vocabulary of our national politics as a “nonstarter.”

He could have just stopped with ‘honest’ or ‘discussion’. I don’t think that part about “well regulated” militia is difficult to understand. In every forum on the net that takes comments it jumps from some suggestion of relatively mild gun safety regulation to accusations of banning guns. As trees are not asphalt, as the sky is to the ground, as bullet are not flowers, regulation is not banning. If one side of the debate is so deeply afraid, and made angry by that fear that all they can psychologically muster in the way of arguments is deflection, denial and fear, than you’re in the business of trying to get the pitchfork and torches mob to stop killing the suspected warlocks.

old cast iron fence

old cast iron fence