Suppose [a historian] is reading the Theodosian Code, and has before him a certain edict of an emperor. Merely reading the words and being able to translate them does not amount to knowing their historical significance. In order to do that he must envisage the situation with which the emperor was trying to deal, and he must envisage it as that emperor envisaged it. Then he must see for himself, just as if the emperor’s situation were his own, how such a situation might be dealt with; he must see the possible alternatives, and the reasons for choosing one rather than another; and thus he must go through the process which the emperor went through in deciding on this particular course. Thus he is re-enacting in his own mind the experience of the emperor; and only in so far as he does this has he any historical knowledge, as distinct from a merely philological knowledge, of the meaning of the edict. — R.G. Collingwood (1946)
'In order to promote a flourishing artistic climate, we must use our resources to ensure that those individuals with the least talent stay away from the arts,' NEA acting chairperson Joan Shigekawa told reporters at a press conference, flanked by existing pieces of insufferably trite art, including various examples of black-and-white photography and scrap-metal sculpture. 'Providing the nation’s inept amateurs with the funding they need to pursue hobbies and professions unrelated to fine arts will revitalize this country’s creative output, furthering our goal of promoting works that aren’t a complete embarrassment.' — Might as well apply.
Julius Mařák (Czech, 1832-1899), In a Forest. Oil on paper mounted on cardboard, 39 x 35 cm.
In humane studies there are times when a new error is more life-giving than an old truth, a fertile error than a sterile accuracy. — Hugh Trevor-Roper (1957)
Prickly Pear Blossoms 2011 by Norman Engel
Using magnets, accelerators can steer these charged particles left, right, up, and down and vary the energy of the beam to precisely place the cell-killing energy right where it’s needed: in the tumor. — Extraordinary things are happening at the intersection of accelerator physics and cancer therapy. (via brookhavenlab)
Alick Riddell Sturrock (Scottish, 1885-1953)
A Solway Farm, 1934. Oil on canvas.
Pithovirus is the perfect name.
Siberian virus not at all like ‘The Thing’ say weirdly glassy-eyed scientists -
An ancient virus found beneath the Siberian permafrost cannot infect and control humans, according to scientists with odd monotone voices.
Researchers at a remote research base said the virus, which had been dormant in the ice for thousands of years, is not a threat and definitely nothing like the shape-shifting evil in John Carpenter’s horror film The Thing.
Ice station scientist Stephen Malley said: “Do not be concerned. All is well here and will remain well. The virus will not harm you or make you a helpless, puppet host organism. We are having fun here and doing normal human things. We look forward to seeing our families and learning more about their technology.”
Since they drift where the currents carry them, with no power or will to oppose that of the sea, this strange community of creatures and the marine plants that sustain them are called ‘plankton,’ a word derived from the Greek, meaning ‘wandering.’ —
Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us
Coined in 1887 by German physiologist Viktor Hensen.
(Source: differenceetrepetition, via mythologyofblue)
[The lexicographer] knows very well that the true relationship between the senses [of a word] is too complex to be represented by less than a three-dimensional model. The figure of a tree, with a root sending up a trunk which branches in all directions, and each branch sending out boughs and finally twigs, would be hard enough to represent in a linear sequence. But the senses of a complex word can sometimes be shown to have undergone mutual influence, as if the branches have not simply diverged, but at a later stage merged again. — Chadwick (1996:12)
Le bal masqué, detail (c.1880). Charles Hermans (Belgian, 1839-1924). Oil on canvas.
We do not, however, have to accept as true the theories that are incorporated in our language, even though this fact may make it difficult to criticize them. If we decide that they are seriously misleading, we may be led to change the aspect of our language in question; otherwise, we may continue to use it, and simply bear in mind the fact that it should not be taken too literally (for example the ‘new’ moon). All this, however, should not prevent us from always trying to use the plainest language we can. — Popper (1977)