The monkeys worries Thursday, Jun 11 2009 


Ridiculously talented dog Thursday, May 28 2009 

Vreti democratie? Luati demokratie! Friday, May 1 2009 

Commenturi la un articol pe
“doar kum konsidera majoritatea traim intro tara demokratika deci oricine are dreptul sa-si spuna parerea”. Bine punktat.
“cui nu-i convine sa schimbe dracu pagina, care-i problema”.

Vînătorii de « cool » Thursday, Apr 30 2009 

Tema: Vînătorii de « cool »: o scurtă incursiune (bibliografică) în istoria dungii (în vestimentaţie) şi o discuţie despre fetişizarea fibrelor şi fetişizarea brandurilor; « industria » second-hand-urilor şi cea a fake-urilor; resemnficarea articolelor vestimentare şi modul în care hainele construiesc şi modelează identităţi.

Oscar Wilde’s claim that only a fool would not judge a person by their appearances gains its satirical force by countering the popular wisdom that one should not judge a person by their clothes.
It cannot be denied that clothing and fashion may be used to “reflect, reinforce, disguise or create mood”(Roarch and Eicher, 1979, 8). The wearing of what are perceived as happy, joyous lines and colours mau be used in the attempt to change a person’s mood (Malcom Barnard, 1996).

It seems that more and more people are becoming “addicted” to the feelings they get when they do wear someting new.Those feelings may be of increased or reinforced uniqueness or of pleasure in presenting a different appearance to the world, and it is not difficult to understand the appeal of those feelings to certain people. Clothes that are rare, either because they are very old or very new mai be userd to create and express an individual uniqueness(Malcom Barnard, 1996).

In order to achieve the effect of ephemeral delicacy and transparency in chemise dress, various thin, especially finely tabby woven fabrics, otherwise used for kerchiefs, cuffs and collars as well as hankerchiefs and ever curtains, were chosen. Mousseline, or, anglicised, muslin (the name derives from the city or Mosul in what is now nothern Iraq) is most frequenlty encountered. Made almost entirely of cotton, loosely woven, in different degrees of finess. Mull, imported from East Indies, was a type of muslin which was notable for its softness. Another widely used fabric was  batiste or cambric. Originally made with a high linen content, it looks thicker and feels stiffer than muslin. It is notable for a very fine, also semitransparent yet firm and even weave. Finer and lighter than batiste according tu linguistic usage of the periode was lawn, or linen, woven so losely of much thinner thread that it feels almost like a veil.  A cotton fabric also available then was organdy, which was woven from thread that was just as fine as that used for muslin but more tightly spun, resulting in fabric stiffer, although more light-weight than batiste. The demand for delicate fabrics ultimately led to muslin even being replaced by tulle, cotton or silk net named after the city of Tulle in France and of unsurpassable translucency.  The striving for airiness and translucency led to the making of lcotes weighing only 250 grammes.

Since all  these fabrics were extremely thin, they could not provide warmth. In addition, shawls, preferably costly cashmere shawls from Kashmir. The upshot was that many ladies caught heavy colds, often followed by pneumonia, aptly apostrophised at the time as the “muslin disease”.

Books about Otaku culture Wednesday, Oct 15 2008 

Nicolas OLIVERI Le phénomène japonais otaku , Nathan (Paris) January, 2007

L’otakisme est un phénomène qui préoccupe depuis vingt ans les observateurs de la société japonaise. Il se caractérise par une hypertechnologisation de la vie quotidienne, qui affecte profondément le mode de vie. Les otakus ne se lient à autrui qu’au sein de communautés virtuelles Ils désinvestissent toutes les pratiques sociales ordinaires. Nicolas Oliveri s’appuie sur l’étude de l’otakisme pour poser plusieurs questions centrales : les technologies sont-elles une cause ou une compensation à ce retrait hors de la société ? L’histoire du Japon de l’après-guerre et l’éducation des enfants peuvent-ils expliquer l’otakisme ? La technologisation de la vie domestique et des loisirs qui gagne notre culture implique-t-elle le risque de telles modifications des pratiques relationnelles et des identités ?

Etienne Barral Otaku : Les Enfants du virtuel, J’ai lu, 30 novembre 2001

Les « fils de l’empire du virtuel », ou otaku, représentent un véritable phénomène de société et concernent quelques millions de jeunes japonais. Issus d’une société stricte où seule compte la réussite sociale, les otaku, contraints d’enfouir leur personnalité, préfèrent se construire de toutes pièces un monde clos et échapper ainsi au réel. La vérité, pour eux, n’est plus dans le rapport avec autrui, mais dans cet univers ultratechnologique et virtuel. Ainsi vivent-ils par procuration leurs rêves de sexe et d’amour sans s’engager véritablement, et accumulent-ils des expériences sans but apparent en utilisant nos médias modernes. Marginaux, déserteurs isolés et perdus ? Les otaku sont en tout cas le reflet d’une société qui n’ose pas regarder les conséquences de ses actes, et le signe d’un malaise profond.

Hiroki Azuma – Génération Otaku : Les enfants de la postmodernité

Best-seller au Japon, cet essai a le grand mérite de penser – et non de juger – le phénomène Otaku. Les Otakus, ce sont ces jeunes fans de manga, de jeux vidéos ou de dessins animés, ne vivant qu’entre eux et que pour ces produits culturels dont ils ne cessent de créer et de consommer des dérivés: figurines, fanzines, romans tirés d’un dessin animé, dessins animés tirés d’une figurine, etc. Le phénomène, en perpétuelle croissance depuis les années 1980, représente aujourd’hui un marché colossal, et s’étend à l’étranger via le succès mondial du manga. Pourtant, ces adolescents en rupture ont toujours été considérés comme des autistes et personne, jusqu’à Hiroki Azuma, n’avait osé étudier sérieusement leurs oeuvres phares et leurs façons de les consommer. Son ouvrage révèle la troublante adéquation entre culture Otaku et postmodernité. Perte des repères, fin des grands récits, brouillage de la frontière entre auteur et consommateur, entre l’original et sa copie : la culture Otaku est la première culture postmoderne. La réduire au Japon serait donc une erreur, car elle a déjà commencé à séduire les jeunesses du monde

Bande à part – The Louvre scene Sunday, Oct 12 2008 

Your memory is running low Tuesday, Sep 16 2008 

According to recent research, we are remembering fewer and fewer basic facts these days.

“Neuroscientist Ian Robertson polled 3,000 people and found that the younger ones were less able than their elders to recall standard personal info. When Robertson asked his subjects to tell them a relative’s birth date, 87 percent of respondents over age 50 could recite it, while less than 40 percent of those under 30 could do so. And when he asked them their own phone number, fully one-third of the youngsters drew a blank. They had to whip out their handsets to look it up. That reflexive gesture — reaching into your pocket for the answer — tells the story in a nutshell. Younger Americans today are the first generation to grow up with go-everywhere gadgets and services that exist specifically to remember things so that we don’t have to: BlackBerrys, phones, thumb drives, Gmail.” (Clive Thompson)

We give up making an effort to remember information that can be retrieve online, by simply using a search engine.

“My point is that the cyborg future is here. Almost without noticing it, we’ve outsourced important peripheral brain functions to the silicon around us.

And frankly, I kind of like it. I feel much smarter when I’m using the Internet as a mental plug-in during my daily chitchat. Say you mention the movie Once: I’ve never seen it, but in 10 seconds I’ll have reviewed a summary of the plot, the actors, and its cultural impact. Machine memory even changes the way I communicate, because I continually stud my IMs with links, essentially impregnating my very words with extra intelligence.” You could argue that by offloading data onto silicon, we free our own gray matter for more germanely “human” tasks like brainstorming and daydreaming. What’s more, the perfect recall of silicon memory can be an enormous boon to thinking. For example, I’ve been blogging for four years, which means I’ve poured out about a million words’ worth of my thoughts online. This regularly produces the surreal and delightful experience of Googling a topic only to unearth an old post that I don’t even remember writing. The machine helps me rediscover things I’d forgotten I knew — it’s what author Cory Doctorow refers to as an “outboard brain.”(Clive Thompson)

“I consume, digest, and excrete information for a living. Whether I’m writing science fiction, editorials, columns, or tech books, whether I’m speaking from a podium or yammering down the phone at some poor reporter, my success depends on my ability to cite and connect disparate factoids at just the right moment.” (Cory Doctorow)

Could one be a veritable genius when on the grid and mentally crippled when not? Could an to much reliance on the “virtual memory” the Internet is offering shut down other important ways of understanding the world?

There’s another type of intelligence that comes not from rapid-fire pattern recognition but from slowly ingesting and retaining a lifetime’s worth of facts. You read about the discoveries of Madame Curie and the history of the countries bordering Iraq. You read War and Peace. Then you let it all ferment in the back of your mind for decades, until, bang, it suddenly coalesces into a brilliant insight. (If Afghanistan had stores of uranium, the Russians would’ve discovered nuclear energy before 1917!) We’ve come to think of human intelligence as being like an Intel processor, able to quickly analyze data and spot patterns. Maybe there’s just as much value in the ability to marinate in the seemingly trivial.

Of course, it’s probably not an either/or proposition. I want both: I want my organic brain to contain vast stores of knowledge and my silicon overmind to contain a stupidly huge amount more. (Clive Thompson)

Source: Wired

Encyclopédie Tuesday, Sep 16 2008 

Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers was published in France between 1751 and 1772, with later supplements and revisions in 1772, 1777 and 1780 and numerous foreign editions and later derivatives.

Denis Diderot (October 5, 1713 – July 31, 1784), a French philosopher and writer during the Enlightenment, had a major contribution to  the Encyclopédie and to Enlightenment.

Its introduction, the Preliminary Discourse, is considered an important exposition of Enlightenment ideas. The Encyclopédie’s self-professed aim was “to change the way people think.” It was hoped that the work would eventually encompass all of human knowledge; Denis Diderot explained the goal of the project as “All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone’s feelings.”

The work comprised 35 volumes, with 71,818 articles, and 3,129 illustrations.

The writers of the encyclopedia saw it as a vehicle to covertly destroy superstitions while overtly providing access to human knowledge. It was a summary of thought and belief of the Enlightenment. In ancien régime France it caused a storm of controversy, due mostly to its tone of religious tolerance. The encyclopedia praised Protestant thinkers and challenged Catholic dogma, and classified religion as a branch of philosophy, not as the ultimate source of knowledge and moral advice.

The entire work was banned by royal decree and officially closed down after the first seven volumes in 1759 but because it had many highly placed supporters, notably Madame de Pompadour, work continued “in secret”. In truth, secular authorities did not want to disrupt the commercial enterprise which employed hundreds of people. To appease the church’s enemies of the project, the authorities had officially banned the enterprise, but they turned a blind eye to its continued existence.

It was also a vast compendium of the technologies of the period, describing the traditional craft tools and processes. Much information was taken from the Descriptions des Arts et Métiers.

The Encyclopédie played an important role in the intellectual ferment leading to the French Revolution. It created the auspicious climate.”No encyclopaedia perhaps has been of such political importance, or has occupied so conspicuous a place in the civil and literary history of its century. It sought not only to give information, but to guide opinion,” wrote the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

This work was very unorthodox and had many forward thinking ideas for the time. Diderot stated within this work, “An encyclopedia ought to make good the failure to execute such a project hitherto, and should encompass not only the fields already covered by the academies, but each and every branch of human knowledge.” Upon encompassing every branch of knowledge this will give, “the power to change men’s common way of thinking.” This idea was profound and intriguing, as it was one of the first works during the Enlightenment. Diderot wanted to give all people the ability to further their knowledge and, in a sense, allow every person to have any knowledge they sought of the world. The work sought to bring together all knowledge of the time and condense this information for all to use. Using not only the expertise of scholars and Academies in their respective fields but that of the common man in their proficiencies in their trades. These people would amalgamate and work under a society to perform such a project. They would work alone in order to shed societal conformities, and build a multitude of information on a desired subject with varying view points, methods, or philosophies. He emphasized the vast abundance of knowledge held within each subject with intricacies and details to provide the greatest amount of knowledge to be gained from the subject. All people would benefit from these insights into different subjects as a means of betterment; bettering society as a whole and individuals alike.

This message under the Ancien Régime would severely dilute the regime’s ability to control the people. Knowledge and power, two key items the upper class held over the lower class, were in jeopardy as knowledge would be more accessible, giving way to more power amongst the lower class. An encyclopedia would give the layman an ability to reason and use knowledge to better themselves; allowing for upward mobility and increased intellectual abundance amongst the lower class. A growth of knowledge amongst this segment of society would provide power to this group and a yearning to question the government. The numerated subjects in the folios were not just for the good of the people and society, but were for the promotion of the state as well. The state did not see any benefit in the works, instead viewing them as a contempt to contrive power and authority from the state.

The Encyclopedie on BBC 4

Source: Wikipedia

Different view Thursday, Sep 11 2008 

Under the sky. No thoughts in my mind, no desire for nothing else but to live the instant, no such things as eagerness, but only vivid dreams.

Laying on a comfy chaise longue on the deck atop Amesterdam’s NEMO Science Museum, bathing my right hand on the flowing water that was sliding next to me, having in front of my eyes the stunning view over a large part of the city, enjoying the best weather ever and just sitting there numbness and dumbness… all this made me feel more real than I ever felt before.

“It seems to me, Antiphon, that you identify happiness with luxury and extravagance; but I have always thought that to need nothing is divine, and to need as little as possible is the nearest approach to the divine; and that what is divine is best, and what is nearest to the divine is the next best.” (Memorabilia, I 6)

Luxury is a question of location.

It’s all about the frame, dude Wednesday, Sep 10 2008 

The Van Gogh Museum was, by far, the highest point of the journey. They managed to gather there not only almost all that Van Gogh has ever draw on a piece of anything, but, also, all things related to him – paintings of him made by others, like Gaugain, paintings of artists he appreciate or had a close relation to… in short.. all that can be associated with the great master of “pointillé”.

His painting left me breathless and, if it weren’t for the big crowd of english and american art devours coming down from their large buses, I would have stayed there the whole day. It was one of them, a young stoner, I overheard explaining to one of his mates the greatness of Van Gogh art: ” It’s all about the frame, dude”.

6th of August 2008, Amsterdam

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