Thursday, August 27, 2015

Machkeon Among Herbs

In herbal gardens we feel as though We are  let in on a secret. On the cover of C.H. Sisson’sCollected Poems (Carcanet, 1998) is a watercolor by Stephen Raw of the final stanza of “The Herb-garden” (Exactions, 1980):

“Herb-garden, dream, scent of rosemary,
Scent of thyme, the deep error of sage,
Fennel that falls like a fountain, rue that says nothing,
Blue leaves, in a garden of green.”

“ Almost like High Tatra mountain villages- The small town of Kuşköy, which is tucked into an isolated valley on the rainy, mountainous Black Sea coast, … is remarkable not for how it looks but for how it sounds: here, the roar of the water and the daily calls to prayer are often accompanied by loud, lilting whistles – the distinctive tones of the local language.” (includes sound samples)  The New Yorker 

Spying on Praha's Garden and Underground ... MMXII
“‘Every day,’ he said, ‘I’ve got to get hold of something by the throat and strangle it. And that keeps me young.’”

| ~ Henri Matisse, in conversation with Edward G. Robinson (quoted in All My Yesterdays: An Autobiography, by Edward G. Robinson with Leonard Spigelgass)

Literary history is as strewn with colorful attempts to define love — including some particularly memorable ones — as modern psychology is with attempts to dissect its inner workings. But perhaps the most powerful and profoundly human definition I’ve ever encountered comes from Czech-born British playwright Tom Stoppard’s 1982 play The Real Thing — a masterwork of insight on the heart’s trials and triumphs in human relationships. Complement this gem from the altogether brilliant The Real Thing with the stirring 1958 letter of advice on falling in love that John Steinbeck sent to his teenage son, Susan Sontag’s lifetime of reflections on love, and Sherwin Nuland on what everybody needs.

Look at the troubles happening in our world!
Anarchy — discontent — upheaval!
Desperate fights over territory, water, and food!
Poisoned air! Unhappiness!
I fear we are lost. We must do something!
I’wve seen the world. I know many secrets.
Listen to me: I know of a king who has all the answers.
We must go and find him.

Complement The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013 with this collection of 2012’s finest science writing online, then revisit the best science books of the past year.

There are many interesting ideas and bits in this NYT Paul Sullivan piece about bohemian boxer: “As for the seeming contradiction of the Buddhist boxer…”

Secrets of the species that thrive in the big city BBC

NOAA: July warmest month in historyMacroBusiness

Several new species of spider orchids have been discovered in Western Australia's south west region. Source: AAP
The world’s most ‘liveable’ cities Economist 

“Somehow those pencils and that jar from my last teenage year takes me back to my most elemental self, the same self who learned to write holding a chubby pencil and then graduated to the traditional yellow Dixon Ticonderoga. I switched to black ones somewhere along the line, probably thinking I was too punk rock for a kid’s pencil, probably imagining black pencils were the sort of thing Gertrude Stein would have approved of and Nelson Algren might have liked Literary Hub 

GardEning and Ought Experiment compliment each other well ... We had ourselves quite the weekend, didn’t we? Well hang on to your armchairs, folks, because apparently it’s time for a Very Special Episode. After the heated conversation about professional cliques, a certain blog editor wrote in with a question about the role and consequences of anonymity in online philosophical discussion:
Dear Louie,
I run a philosophy blog. Usually I think it’s worth it—it’s good to have a public space to share news, hash out issues, have some fun, etc.,—but sometimes, Louie, sometimes….
Provocative topics are good blog material. People like to read and discuss them. But they are also bad blog material, in that they pull in a lot of commenters who like to spout off in intemperate, uninformed, and insulting ways. When discussion threads are dominated by these commenters, it turns off some others from participating. I think what would improve matters is more people posting under their own names. It makes contributors accountable for what they say. And I think that as more people participate under their real names, that will encourage others to do so, and the general tenor of discourse at the blog will improve.
I understand that people sometimes have good reasons for posting anonymously. I also understand that some people are worried that if they post under their own names, they risk others responding harshly to them. I moderate comments at my site, so I can protect participants from pointless insults and needless hostility there. But there is the rest of the internet, and the risk of being insulted, teased, or slandered elsewhere discourages some people from posting. The result of this worry is that a large number thoughtful people with interesting and valuable things to say refrain from taking part in the public conversation. And that is pretty bad.
So, Louie, my question is: given that there will continue to be anonymous commenting at my blog (and elsewhere), what can I do to raise the quality of discussion threads?
Just Uncomplicatedly Solve The Internet, Nerd 

Gardening and Trolling in the philosophical blogosphere Ought Experiment