Everything in the universe is older than it seems. Blame Einstein for that. We see what a thing was when the light left it, and that was long ago. Nothing in the night sky is contemporary, not to us, not to one another. Ancient stars exploded into ruin before their sparkle ever caught our eyes; those glimpsed in glowing “nurseries” were crones before we witnessed their birth. Everything we marvel at is already gone.
Yet, light rays go out forever, so that everything grown old and decayed retains somewhere the appearance of its youth. The universe is full of ghosts.
But images are light, and light is energy, and energy is matter; and matter is real. So image and reality are the same thing, after all. Blame Einstein for that, as well.—Michael Flynn
—from The January Dancer
tenebrous /TEN-ə-brəs/ /’tɛnɪbrəs/. adjective. Gloomy, shadowy, full or darkness. From Latin tenebrae (darkness).[Read more…]
- A story that truly deserves the adjective “extraordinary” in many ways: who the book collector was, the volume and variety he collected, that he read and summarized the books…and that some of that index survived. → ‘Extraordinary’ 500-year-old library catalogue reveals books lost to time Thanks, Reader K! ※ Linked within that story is another worth reading: How Christopher Columbus’s son built ‘the world’s first search engine’
- See the first image ever taken of a supermassive black hole. Just to provide some context since it’s easy to forget how big “supermassive” is: this black hole has the mass of 6.5 billion of our suns. And our Sun could contain 1.3 million Earths! ※ I’m agog that some people are actually complaining about the photo’s quality, but just in case: In Defense of the Blurry Black Hole Photo.
- The strange politicization of cursive writing (and its conflation with handwriting). → Cursive Seemed to Go the Way of Quills and Parchment. Now It’s Coming Back.
- The Visible Poetry Project “pairs 30 poets and filmmakers to collaborate on short films for the month of April.” The results are awesome.
- From cannabutter to the connectome and bawbag to sprunt, there are a bunch of (mostly) interesting new words going into the OED in March. ※ See the full list.
- “The newly discovered Malagasy amphibians have brains that could sit on a pin.” → New staple-size frog is one of the tiniest ever discovered ※ Related, in the sense that I hope the bees in question were really tiny too: Doctors find four bees in woman’s eye, feeding on her tears.
- Artificial Intelligence seems like one of those things that is quietly transforming our world in mostly overlooked ways while we’re all distracted debating—or waiting for—the garish apocalyptic visions to be realized. → Visualizing the AI Revolution in One Infographic
- Quacks of the Week → The Fake Sex Doctor Who Conned the Media Into Publicizing His Bizarre Research on Suicide, Butt-Fisting, and Bestiality and Bret Easton Ellis Thinks You’re Overreacting to Donald Trump.
- Famous Movie Scenes you probably didn’t realise were Borrowed from Paintings ※ Pairs tastily with The Secrets of the World’s Greatest Art Thief.
- Today in 1894, the first public kinetoscope parlor opens in New York City. The kinetoscope, the precursor to modern motion picture in both camera and ultimately projection, was a product of Thomas Edison’s workshop. Though Edison claimed credit for the device, most of the work creating it was performed by William Kennedy Laurie Dickson and Charles A. Brown under Edison’s leadership. That first parlor featured ten kinetoscopes set up in two parallel rows of five that viewers would sequentially watch for twenty-five cents per row. To provide some context, one dollar in 1894 was the equivalent nearly thirty dollars today. Edison’s company generated nearly 2.5 million (in today’s dollars) in its first eleven months of selling the machines and films. ※ You can ► watch some of those early kinetoscope films including the scandalous The Kiss as well as ► Monkeyshines, the first film recorded in the United States.
“I composed a piece of music made entirely from sounds that I had recorded from a collection of antique cameras. […] To accompany this track I created a video response […] made entirely with stop motion animation, with over six thousand still photos shot and then edited together.” → ► Digital Analogue by Lu Sisi
I’m mostly sure that the Heavy Metal Knitting World Championships are a real thing.