Frankenstein


Nearing
the end of Frankenstein, now. As usual with the Penguin Classics,
there’s a fairly long academic-ish intro. Since it’s a reprint of a
late-80s/early-90s edition, the intro seems a bit dry at times (esp.
compared to the fireworks and bombast of late 90s lit. theory). Couple of interesting quotes though, such as the following quote it gives, taken from Muriel Spark’s Mary Shelley bio:
 
“Frankenstein is Mary Shelley’s best novel, because at that early age she was not well acquainted with her own mind.”

Interesting idea – that self-knoweldge, self-analysis and self-pity (or
any blend of the three) detracts from your ability to write well… The
exact opposite of the usual advice they give writers to ‘write what you
know’. It’s not what you know…

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If you click a tree in the forest…


…and no-one’s around, does it still grow? Give it a go with NEC’s
art-cum-sponsorship-cum-corporate-responsibility project Ecotonoha.
Adding leaves to the virtual tree makes them plant more real trees.
Lovely graphics, and since the leaves are little messages, the whole
tree is actually a patchwork of words, wishes and SMS shouts:
Link. [via Josh Rubin]

Pic: NEC

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Here, There and Everywhere

"FALLOW: The German cartographer, Mercator, 
originally designed this map in 1569 as a navigational tool
for European sailors.
HUKE: The map enlarges areas at the poles to create
straight lines of constant bearing or geographic direction.
CYNTHIA SAYLES: So, it makes it easier to cross an ocean.
FALLOW: But...
C.J.: Yes?
FALLOW: It distorts the relative size of nations and continents.
C.J.: Are you saying the map is wrong?
FALLOW: Oh, dear, yes. Uh, look at Greenland.
C.J.: Okay...
FALLOW: Now look at Africa.
C.J.: Okay...
FALLOW: The two landmasses appear to be roughly the
same size.
C.J.: Yes.
FALLOW: Would it blow your mind if I told you that Africa
is in reality fourteen times larger?
Josh nudges C.J. with his knee, C.J. pushes him back.
C.J.: Yes.
SAYLES: Here we have Europe drawn considerably larger
than South America when at 6.9 million square miles South
America is almost double the size of Europe’s 3.8 million.
HUKE: Alaska appears three times as large as Mexico,
when Mexico is larger by .1 million square miles.
SAYLES: Germany appears in the middle of the map when
it’s in the northernmost quarter of the Earth.
JOSH: Wait, wait. Relative size is one thing, but you’re telling
me that Germany isn’t where we think it is?
FALLOW: Nothing’s where you think it is."

This is from an episode of The West Wing (unofficial transcript) I recently watched, and it got me thinking again about this idea of location…

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Creative Commons: Copyright evolves

Not
sure whether to stick this in ‘Tech’, ‘Cool’, or create a ‘Just Listen
To This!’ category. Anyway. This site, including the photos, is now
licensed not under completely out-dated copyright, but by a Creative
Commons license. There’s a great explanation in the form of a comic
here or you can check out their excellent site at www.creativecommons.org.
In short, what it means is that I’m not enforcing every single aspect
of the copyright protection the law affords me in regard to this weblog
and the photos.

Pirating DVDs doesn’t fund Al-Qaeda, downloading an MP3 does not mean
Britney goes without Pepsi for a week, and you copying my photos for
personal, non-commercial use isn’t going to destroy the planet! 🙂 More
on copyright to come – it’s a lot more interesting than you’d think…

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T-Shirt Philosophy

I’m a big fan of
off-beat t-shirts (*not* anything with some American designer’s name
printed in really-large playground-legible letters) and while there’s a
couple of weblogs that seem to cover them a bit (two excellent ones in
particular:
Jean Snow and Josh Rubin’s Cool Hunting), there’s not a whole of links out there. So I’ve added a category to TWJ.

First site to highlight: MoreTVicar.
Sells a range of different brands, including the Chunk ones (with the
Haynes car manual exo-skeleton prints), and some more obscure
stuff, like Eieio who make the
bizarre Technics-and-butterflies combination below.There’s a sale
on at the moment, too.

Pic: MoreTVicar

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Welcome to London

Can’t be bothered to read Peter Ackroyd’s megalithic biography of the metropolis, but still want to be able to spout trivia about the obscure streets, strange names and unusual practices that the capital is built on? Check out This Isn’t London, a website of totally fake London history and facts…[via LMG]

“Planning permission for the London Eyeruns out next year. Remarkably, it’s been suggested that this great
tourist attraction and adornment to the London skyline might have to be taken down forever, or maybe re-erected elsewhere. So what are the other options? The wheel will be unhooked from its spindle and, thus freed, will roll around the country solving mysteries and avenging wrongs…”

Pointing North: Updated

On the subject of yesterday’s LG Qiblah mobile phone post
– it seems that the compass isn’t actually an active one. You simply
select your location from a pre-programmed list of cities, and then the
compass display’s Mecca’s direction. So it doesn’t use any fancy GPS or
less fancy magnetic forces – which precludes entertaining pirate
related text exchanges with your friends, as so:

“WHRE B YE, M8-E?”
“RRR. I B 3 LEAGUES SOUTH-WEST OF YE, M8-E.”
“RRR”
“WILL YE B SETTN SAIL SOON?”

“RRR. “
“SPY U SOON. RRRRRR.”

Also, I googled Qiblah, to see what it translates as. According to this Glossary of Islamic Terms, it is the direction that Muslims face when they do their salaah. It is in the direction of the Ka’bah in Mecca. Sort of a no-brainer name, really…. 

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