1. A small-scale livestock farmer says he’ll keep raising animals to counter industrial-scale livestock production, but he wonders if we humans shouldn’t outgrow eating animals.
2. A possible hernia in Da Vinci’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man starts a biology lesson in how our human bodies have weaknesses because of evolutionary adaptation from earlier, non-vertical-walking creatures.
3. A commenter at The Dish makes a point about “epistemological” Original Sin — that is, examining one’s own ideas, actions, with the idea that these may be in error, that people are prone to error.
In other words – if I may be permitted briefly to mix religion and politics – Original Sin is a concept that liberals can embrace, from an epistemological if not a theological perspective. Perhaps after all it’s not something that should be “laundered out of our culture” … We need Original Sin as a restraint against our arrogant – and possibly evil – self-certainty.
4. Norwegians like watching unedited TV — boat trips, train trips in real time. I’m having a similar inclination these days: I like movies that have no plot, and PBS shows that have no interruptions (and also have lightly accented English by people cooking outdoors in windy locations).
5. The Misfortune of Knowing blog has a welcome fact-check on George Packer’s recent New Yorker article about Amazon’s influence in the book-publishing industry.
Posted in Links
Tagged eating meat, epistemological Original Sin, evolution, farmers, farming, George Packer, links, livestock farming, meatpackers, Misfortune of Knowing, New Yorker, Norwegians, Original Sin, slow TV, unedited TV, Vitruvian man
An article at Salon.com discusses how the unique rhythms in some of jazz musician Dave Brubeck’s work engage listeners:
“[Professor of music at Carleton College in Minnesota Justin]London says that Brubeck’s rhythms can play with the listener’s innate toe-tapping ability—the technical term is entrainment. “Whenever you start doing anything in rhythm the whole motor center of the brain starts lighting up.” He notes that musicians and nonmusicians do equally well on tests of this ability. It appears to be an innate skill, part of the way we interact socially. Asymmetrical meters may be appealing because they test people’s native entrainment ability and keep the brain more active while listening and performing. “The asymmetrical meters do make you work a little harder to make you stay along with them, and that’s part of their appeal, attraction and charm,” London says.
David Huron, a music professor at The Ohio State University, researches a variety of topics in music cognition, including the emotional effects of music and what makes tunes memorable. He says that musicologists tend to focus on novelty when discussing musical appeal, but in reality, “people prefer things that are familiar.” He says that in order to make songs such as “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo a la Turk” compelling, Brubeck had to balance the novelty of the rhythm with familiarity, particularly through repetition. “If you want to make things accessible to listeners, repetition is key. If he had just done a more Stravinsky-esque thing, playing around with these rhythms and not repeating them, then what we know from the research is that would be much less appealing to the listeners.”
Reading this article, I thought about how this rhythm interpretation could also apply to poetry: how the rhythm activates our brain (including the “motor center,” as it says above — we feel rhythm in our bodies, with poetry as well as music, I’d assert) and how much we like repetition — why else would there be so much rhyme (defined as repetition of word sounds) in poems?
And I’ve been wondering lately if the writing of poems — from a sound-sense — is mainly about repetitions. Regular repetitions of meter, of rhyme patterns — of course, free verse subverts this, but as the second quote above says, we like patterns. Patterns stick with us, they are often picked out by our brains even without us consciously noticing these patterns, and these patterns are often what stays in our memory. Yet as an artist, I’m skeptical of this hegemony of patterns. I’d like to question this, consider it a little, even if I’m not sure what I’d replace it with.
1. A museum of art works that have been “totaled” — broken but insured. An interesting way to think about what art is.
2. More Vonnegut letters’ discussion.
3. Photos and memory.
Thanks again to The Dish.
I’m not a huge sports fan, but I do like this funny piece detailing abysmal quarterbacking performances, and I did enjoy this thoughtful piece by Chuck Klosterman (I’ve also enjoyed his essays in “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs” and “Eating the Dinosaur”).
Some sites I’m linking to, partly so I can read them (again) later:
1.Via The Dish, an essay on the current “golden age for writers and writing”
2. NYTimes’ The Stone blog post, on philosophy and poetry
3. Audio-editing software recommended by a profilee of NYTimes Biz section.
4. An interesting set of quotations from philosophy & psych. books.
Posted in Links
The New York Times Room for Debate feature discusses the role/value of diaries in the age of social media. I don’t personally use the word “diary,” for some reason, though my journals contain diary-stuff sometimes. Through there, I also enjoyed this link to a Morgan library diary exhibit overview.
Other links, via The Dish: death, memory, and writers as not-regular-people.