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Golf Courses

January 1st, 2010 1 comment

From “From Bauhaus to Golf Course:
The Rise, Fall, and Revival of the Art of Golf Course Architecture,”

by Steve Sailer,
published in a shorter version in The American Conservative, April 11, 2005

Assuming an average of a quarter square mile apiece, America’s 15,000 golf courses cover almost as much land as Delaware and Rhode Island combined….

Research since the early 80s shows that humans tend to have two favorite landscapes. One is wherever they lived during their adolescence, but the nearly universal favorite among children before they imprint upon their local look is grassy parkland, and that fondness survives into adulthood….

In one amusing study, 1001 people from 15 different countries were surveyed about what they’d like to see in a painting. Then the sponsors of the research, conceptual art pranksters Komar and Melamid, painted each country’s “Most Wanted Painting.” Even though the researchers hadn’t Coeur D'Alene Resort golf course, designed by Scott Miller. This is the mirror image of the real golf hole so the orientation is the same as in the painting above. mentioned what type of picture it should be, the consensus in 13 of the 15 cultures favored landscapes and 11 of the 15 looked surprisingly like golf courses. All over the world, people want to see grassland, a lake, and some trees, but not a solid forest.

This frenzy of art worship among a minority of golfers has gone almost wholly Cypress Point 17, par 4, 390 yards, Alister MacKenzie designed 1929, Monterey Peninsula, CA unrecognized in the establishment art world, which otherwise has been so quick to discern artistry in such unlikely forms as graffiti and toilet brushes. Top museums do not stage retrospectives on the Trent Jones family or stock golf course photo books in their gift shops.

Shadow Creek 17th, par 3, Las Vegas, designed by Tom Fazio and hotelier Steve Wynn, 1989. To eliminate views of the stark desert, the golf course resides in a 60 foot deep hole in the ground of a half square mile in extent.Golf course architecture is one of the world’s most expansive but least recognized art forms. Yet this curiously obscure profession can help shed light on mainstream art, sociology, and even human nature itself, since the golf designer, more than any other artist, tries to reproduce the primeval human vision of an earthly paradise.

Yet even this most unfashionable of arts was swept in the middle of the last century by the same Bauhaus-derived tastes that made post-WWII modernist buildings so tedious. Only recently has golf course architecture begun to revive the styles and values of its golden age in the 1920s.

Hidden in plain sight, golf courses are among the few works of art readily visible from airliners. (A golf architecture aficionado can often identify a course’s designer from 35,000 feet.) Assuming an average of a quarter square mile apiece, America’s 15,000 golf courses cover almost as much land as Delaware and Rhode Island combined.Cypress Point 18th hole, par 4, approach to the green. Designed by Alister MacKenzie, 1929. Monterey Peninsula, California.

Golf architecture philosophy isn’t terribly elaborate compared to the thickets of theory that entangle most museum arts, but one thing all golf designers assert is that their courses look “natural.” Growing up in arid Southern California, however, where the indigenous landscape is impenetrable hillsides of gray-brown sagebrush, I never quite understood what was so natural about fairways of verdant, closely-mown grass, but I loved them all the same.

Research since the early 80s shows that humans tend to have two favorite landscapes. One is wherever they lived during their adolescence, but the nearly universal favorite among children before they imprint upon their local look is grassy parkland, and that fondness survives into adulthood.Komar and Melamid: America's Most Wanted Painting, based on a survey by a marketing research firm of visual preferences

Richard Conniff wrote in Discover: “In separate surveys, Ulrich, Orians, and others have found that people respond strongly to landscapes with open, grassy vegetation, scattered stands of branchy trees, water, changes in elevation, winding trails, and brightly lit clearings…” In one amusing study, 1001 people from 15 different countries were surveyed about what they’d like to see in a painting. Then the sponsors of the research, conceptual art pranksters Komar and Melamid, painted each country’s “Most Wanted Painting.” Even though the researchers hadn’t Coeur D'Alene Resort golf course, designed by Scott Miller. This is the mirror image of the real golf hole so the orientation is the same as in the painting above. mentioned what type of picture it should be, the consensus in 13 of the 15 cultures favored landscapes and 11 of the 15 looked surprisingly like golf courses. All over the world, people want to see grassland, a lake, and some trees, but not a solid forest. And they always want to see it slightly from above. The project was intended to satirize popular taste, but it ended up revealing much about about human desires. Above is Komar and Melamid’s rendition of America’s Most Wanted Painting and here’s a par 3 from the Coeur d’Alene golf course in Idaho that is similar in outline but aesthetically superior in execution.

The Serengeti Savanna in TanzaniaThe current theory for why golf courses are so attractive to millions (mostly men), perhaps first put forward in John Strawn’s book Driving the Green: The Making of a Golf Course, is that they look like happy hunting grounds—a Disney-version of the primordial East African grasslands. Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, author of the landmark 1975 book Sociobiology, once told me, “I believe that the reason that people find well-landscaped golf courses ‘beautiful’ is that they look like savannas, down to the scattered trees, copses, and lakes, and most especially if they have vistas of the sea.

Edgewood Tahoe golf course, Nevada, par-5 16th hole, designed by George and Tom FazioTasty hoofed animals would graze on the savanna’s grass, while the nearby woods could provide shade and cover for hunters. Our ancestors would study the direction of the wind and the slopes of the land in order to approach their prey from the best angles. Any resemblance to a rolling golf fairway running between trees is not coincidental.

In 1975, geographer Jay Appleton advanced the similar theory that what people like is a combination of a sense of “refuge,” such as the ability to hide in the woods, and of “prospect” across open country. Both theories make the prediction that human beings, especially males, will spend enormous amounts of money to fashion golf courses.

Generally, men (the hunters) tend to prefer sweeping vistas, while women (the gatherers) prefer enclosed verdant refuges. Perhaps it’s no accident that a longtime favorite book among little girls is called “The Secret Garden.” Similarly, women make up a sizable majority of gardeners while men often obsess over lawn care.

Is this the best job in the world? Greg Norman and one of his designers "spy the land with a golfer's eye," as Bernard Darwin said. To create these pleasure grounds, top golf architects typically spend over $10 million per course, and because designers oversee the creation of multiple layouts simultaneously, a “signature” architect like Tom Fazio will end his career with his name on a few billion dollars worth of golf courses.

Famous works of “environmental art,” such as Robert Smithson’s monumental earthwork “Spiral Jetty” in the Great Salt Lake, are dwarfed by golf courses in extent and thought required.

Among fine artists, only ChristoRunning Fence by Christo, 1976, Marin County works on a comparable scale, and his projects, such as his recent “Gates” in Central Park, are more repetitious. Nonetheless, Christo’s “Gates,” which re-emphasized the original landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead’s lovely serpentine pathways, and his 1976 “Running Fencesnaking through the undulating grasslands of Marin County, offer some of the same visual pleasures of following alluring trails as golf architects provide.

The great majority of golfers long thought of A winding pathway; designed by Greg Norman courses mostly in terms of length or difficulty rather than of artistry. Even though the taste of golfers has improved in recent decades, many still judge a course more by the manicuring of its grass than by its design. Moreover, in the U.S., relatively few women are interested in golf before menopause, although the game is fairly fashionable among young women in East Asia and Scandinavia.

In recent decades, however, the golf world has come down with a severe case of connoisseurship, publishing hundreds of coffee-table books and calendars, making cult figures of long-forgotten early 20th Century architects like A.W. Tillinghast and Charles Blair MacDonald and brand names out of living designers like Pete Dye and Tom Doak.

National Golf Links of America, par 4 17th hole, Hamptons, designed by Charles Blair MacDonald, 1909, photo by Ran Morrissett Many today truly love good golf design, but until very recently, too few hated poor design enough to name names. Golfers tended to feel that any golf course is nice, so it would be churlish to gripe. It was not until the early Nineties that writing about architecture began to mature when Doak, a young architect, circulated a photocopied samizdat manuscript called the Confidential Guide to Golf Courses that lambasted sacred cows.

Today, the gathering ground for architecture aficionados is the web discussion board www.GolfClubAtlas.com, where it’s common to find, say, 70 messages denouncing the vulgarity of Fazio’s redesign of the 7th fairway’s bunker on George C. Thomas’s classic 1927 Riviera course, where Los Angeles’ Nissan Open is played.

This frenzy of art worship among a minority of golfers has gone almost wholly Cypress Point 17, par 4, 390 yards, Alister MacKenzie designed 1929, Monterey Peninsula, CA unrecognized in the establishment art world, which otherwise has been so quick to discern artistry in such unlikely forms as graffiti and toilet brushes. Top museums do not stage retrospectives on the Trent Jones family or stock golf course photo books in their gift shops.

The art community would benefit from exposure to golf architecture simply because the best courses, such as Alister MacKenzie‘s Cypress Point on the Monterey Peninsula, are things of astonishing beauty, comparable in craftsmanship, complexity, and deceptiveness to the finest efforts of 18th-century English landscape artists such as Capability Brown, creator of the majestic grounds for Blenheim Palace.

Whistling Straits 17th, par 3, Wisconsin, designed by Pete Dye, 1999, a wholly manufactured version of the wild Irish links The first problem limiting the acceptance of golf design as art is that to nongolfers a course can seem as meaningless as a Concerto for Dog Whistle. That a golf course allows people to interact with interesting landscapes without killing wild animals makes sense in the abstract, but not until you’ve driven a ball over a gaping canyon and onto the smooth safety of the green will the golf course obsession make much sense.

The distinction Edmund Burke made in 1757 between the “sublime” and the “beautiful” applies to golf courses. The beautiful is some pleasing place conducive to human habitat — meadows, valleys, slow moving streams, grassland intermingled with copses of trees, the whole English country estate shtick. The sublime is nature so magnificent that it induces the feeling of terror because it could kill you, such as by you falling off a mountain or into a gorge.

Beautiful landscapes are most suited for building golf courses, since a golf course needs at least 100 acres of land level enough for a golf ball to come to rest upon. But golfers get a thrill out of the mock sublime, where you are in danger of losing not your life, but your mis-hit golf ball into a water hazard or ravine. One reason that Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula is so legendary is because it combines sublime sea cliffs with beautiful (and thus functional for golf) rolling plains…

Conventional artists are urban, golf architects suburban. The art community delights in the venerable game of Shock the Bourgeoisie, while golf courses are too bourgeois to be hip, too elegant to be camp….

The thrifty Scots made golf courses out of sandy, crumpled land of little value for farming. Lacking rich enough soil to grow trees, they are more open to the wind, which adds to the complexity of the game, but they don’t furnish the natural pleasure of providing both forest and grassland together that the standard inland American course does…

Examples of truly horrendous design, fortunately, appear to be rarer in golf architecture than in building architecture, and are generally bulldozed into something more pleasing to the eye within a few years. Still, I can’t resist a picture of Desmond Muirhead’s legendary “Clashing Rocks” par-3 from his 1987 Stone Harbor course in New Jersey. Muirhead, who, while partnered in the early 1970s with Nicklaus, was largely responsible for the routing of the superb Muirfield Village course, became increasingly enamored with artistic self-expression in the 1980s. He explained:

“This hole has been published in hundreds of magazines worldwide, in art and architecture as well as golf. It was based on Jason and the Argonauts. The symbol came from my subconscious where it had probably been hanging around for a great many years. According to Jungian psychology, it is a mandala, a Sanskrit Stone Harbor 7th hole, par 3, originally designed by Desmond Muirhead, but now softened.word meaning perfect circle which is the most common archetype drawn in psycho-analysis. The central form is female and the jagged forms are male.”

Indeed.

Stone Harbor’s members, however, found Muirhead’s theoretical rhetoric less intimidating than the sand shots over water he’d inconsiderately created for them, and they had the hole rebuilt into something a little more traditional.

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HARRY POTTER AND THe CHRISTIAN

August 2nd, 2009 No comments

Some Christians think that Halloween and the Harry Potter
books are bad, as encouraging witchcraft. I will not talk about
Halloween here, but I will talk about the Harry Potter books. I’ve
had occasion to praise them recently, because while my son and
daughter were in the hospital we read one of them out loud, and
it was useful for them and for me. It distracted from their
physical pain and from all of our pain from recent loss of loved
ones, allowing switches back and forth from mourning to
imagination. Harry Potter’s world worked this magic because it is
a mixture of the mundane and the wondrous, because it has
many novel contrivances, and because it is full of suspense. A
few other books can do this too— the Oz series, for example, or
Tolkien, or Narnia— but the hospital happened to have Harry
Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at hand.

On the other hand, what of this passage from Deuteronomy 18?

Deuteronomy. 18:10-12. There shall not be found among you
any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the
fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an
enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar
spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things
are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these
abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from
before thee.

At first sight, this passage seems to condemn not just Harry
Potter, but Tolkien and Oz. (Narnia is exempt, I think– I don’t
recall good magic in it.)

But wait. We must ask what the words in Deuteronomy mean.
Some Christians use the Ten Commandments to condemn not
just murder but the death penalty, war, and resistance to crime.
Indeed, one could use it to advocate vegetarianism— does
“Thou shalt not kill” have an exemption for animals? Actually,
what about killing plants? So we must pay attention to
translation and meaning.

In the case of Deuteronomy, what do
enchanter, witch, charmer, wizard, and necromancer mean? I
don’t have time now to go to the Hebrew, though that is clearly
relevant. Note first, though, that here we seem to have five
distinct kinds of magic, besides the other kinds in the passage
which don’t apply to Harry Potter’s kind of magic at all.
(I know there’s divination in the novels, but it’s peripheral and
Harry and his friends don’t do real divination and consider the
subject “pseudo-magic”.)

Whatever they mean, I don’t think it can apply to what Harry
Potter and friends are doing. What they are doing is not really
magic, but science. Harry, Ron, and Hermione do not reach into
a supernatural world to engage the power of spirits. There are a
few ghosts in the book, but notice how no spells make use of
them, and how little different the ghosts are from people except
in their immortality and nonphysicality. Rather, what the
Hogwarts kids do is learn how to use wands to manipulate
things, and what kind of magical creatures and plants lurk in the
world unobserved by ordinary people. Most people– Muggles–
can’t use wands, just as most people can’t do calculus (and never
could, because they’re not smart enough). Those who can have
to go to school and learn it just like biology or trombone. It’s
called “magic”, but how is it different from “chemistry”?

I’ll have to continue later. But I’ll make a second point here. Look
at the context of Deuteronomy 18:10-12. What’s in front and
behind it?

18:9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy
God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the
abominations of those nations….

18:13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.

18:14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened
unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the
LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.

It’s “the abominations of those nations” that is condemned.
The Canaanites are condemned in the Bible to a degree beyond
any other people. Thus, it may be just their forms of magic that
are being condemned here. Or, it may just be their evil use of it.

A couple of references (which do not make the points I make
above, I think):

“Are all witches equal?
Six types of Witchcraft”
(note: I suspect this site is not to
be trusted farther than you can test their arguments yourself–but
that is usefully far).

“Religious debates over the Harry
Potter series,”
not to be considered as unbiased as most
Wikipedia articles, but moderate in tone, fair, and with lots of
citations
so you can check up on it.

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A Fence Painting

May 12th, 2009 No comments

From somewhere on the Web:

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Spring in the Back Yard

April 17th, 2009 No comments
Yellow Violets
A Morel
Bluebells
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Joy and Song and John Ford

April 12th, 2009 1 comment

From a very very good essay on John Ford movies:

For an atheist, even those functional atheists who make a hobby out of churchgoing but who do not actually believe that any of the Creed is true, cannot sing, not in Ford’s sense. People may sing for diversion, or may listen to singing for entertainment, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you have no sense for the mysterious and transcendent — if you do not bow in humility before the mysteries of Man and Woman and Child, let alone God — then you have nothing that will unite you and your fellows in gratitude to sing about, and certainly no one beyond yourselves to sing to. The clodhopping farmers of Drums Along the Mohawk are happy to be together at the barn dance to celebrate a wedding, not just because a wedding is an excuse for drinking, but because any wedding is to them like a moment’s reentry into Eden, or a moment’s foreshadowing of heaven. The secular world is optimistic, sure, and can provide a lot of fun, sometimes of the harmless kind. But it knows neither hope nor joy.

This has some important relation to the 2007 Korean movie Le Grand Chef which we saw last night with the Wildenbeests, Buddhist/traditionalist though that movie is. Come to think of it, the protagonist of that movie may have to be Buddhist because it is about tradition and loyalty, but his attitude is highly Christian– that simple work is ennobling, that bodily pleasures and existence in this world are good, and that what is gained by sin is not worth having.

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A Picture

April 7th, 2009 No comments
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The Ruins of Detroit

March 16th, 2009 No comments


Via NR, Time has a good photo series on the Ruins of Detroit.

This is what liberalism can do to a city. This is entirely the fault of bad government.

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February 3rd, 2009 No comments

Brandeis University is selling its $350 million art collection. One interesting thing about this is that there exists a bad law saying that universities can’t spend the principal of their endowments. Cushioning bad times should be a major (maybe the only) reason for endowments. Precautionary saving is an excellent idea; merely piling up golden ducats is not.

Brandeis’s endowment had plunged to $540 million at the end of 2008 from $712 million as of June 30 of that year, and it was earning significantly less than the 8%-plus annual return on investment it had posted on June 30. Some of Brandeis’s trustees are believed to have lost money from Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, limiting their ability to make up the difference. The school, which by law spends only its gains and not the principal of the endowment, reduced expenditures by $10 million and instituted various budget-freezing measures, but “we couldn’t do any more belt-tightening without fundamentally changing the character of the university,” said Peter French, Brandeis’s chief operating officer and executive vice president. He noted that, as the trustees looked ahead at the next four or five years, they could see operating deficits of $10 million to $20 million a year and little likelihood of Brandeis regaining its $700 million endowment and 8% interest income until 2015.

What they could do instead is to pawn the art collection and redeem it when the endowment income is flowing again. Or, someone ought to come up with a self-liquidating security which pays out dividends until none of it is left. There’s some kind of Treasury security like that– is that what a Strip is?

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Movies: Doubt and W

January 22nd, 2009 No comments

I found favorable and interesting-in-themselves reviews of Doubt and W. by Steve Sailer.

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Cold Weather

January 18th, 2009 No comments

Peter Hitchens has it right and writes well:

I like sitting round a hearth as much as anybody, or walking into a warm kitchen. But these things are not half so pleasant unless you have come in from the cold outside.

Proper British cold weather is exhilarating, stimulating and good for you. … I still recall experiencing as a small child the sharper frosts of Scotland, on the Fife coast of the Firth of Forth, and finding the milk solid in the bottles on the doorstep, with the cream thrust up out of the bottle and he foil cap perched on top.

Sometimes it brings glorious clear air, so that you can see further than at any other time of year. Sometimes it comes with mysterious fogs. I am still sad that I shall never see again the overpowering sight of an express steam engine coming into a station one foggy winter dusk in a small Dartmoor town, entirely surrounded by its own cloud of steam glowing pink, red and gold.

When it freezes lakes and ponds, and hardens the earth, it makes sound travel quite differently, so that church bells across a long distance have a special hollow echo to them that (like the bells themselves, only more so) is uniquely English.

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"Music Make You Lose Control"

January 16th, 2009 No comments


\

LD passed this along to me.

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Glaciers Crush Lousville

January 3rd, 2009 No comments

From the visitor center at Falls of the Ohio State Park.

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Iceland

December 28th, 2008 No comments

From Marginal Revolution:

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Today’s Sermon in Cartoon Form

December 28th, 2008 No comments

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Jews in Hollywood

December 23rd, 2008 1 comment

Via Steve Sailer comes this LA Times article. It would be interesting to look into this further. The open letter mentioned is discussed here, and it does seem that 8 execs signed and all were Jewish.

I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,” down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.

How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.

The person they were yelling at in that ad was SAG President Alan Rosenberg (take a guess). The scathing rebuttal to the ad was written by entertainment super-agent Ari Emanuel (Jew with Israeli parents) on the Huffington Post, which is owned by Arianna Huffington (not Jewish and has never worked in Hollywood.)

The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.

As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment.

Categories: art, Economics, race Tags:

A Good Photo

December 11th, 2008 No comments

What a good photo of Ian Jewitt this is!

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A Colorful Hilbert Something or Other

December 6th, 2008 2 comments

A nice image from the
Ogre’s Gallery.

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"The Mom Song Sung to William Tell Overture"

December 4th, 2008 No comments

My wife showed me the good YouTube video, “The Mom Song Sung to William Tell Overture”.

Categories: art, living, words Tags:

Is The World Evil?

November 29th, 2008 1 comment

Three Hierarchies quotes Newman thus:

One literature may be better than another, but bad will be the best, when weighed in the balance of truth and morality. It cannot be otherwise; human nature is in all ages and all countries the same; and its literature, therefore, will ever and everywhere be one and the same also. Man’s work will savour of man; in his elements and powers excellent and admirable, but prone to disorder and excess, to error and to sin. Such too will be his literature; it will have the beauty and the fierceness, the sweetness and the rankness, of the natural man, and, with all its richness and greatness, will necessarily offend the senses of those who, in the Apostle’s words, are really “exercised to discern between good and evil.”

Newman’s hostile admiration to secular literature is perhaps in the same spirit as ascetism generally: if it feels good, don’t do it. This has both Protestant and Roman Catholic versions. I suppose it’s like the gnostic view that the body is bad. The other, correct, view is that God gave us the world to enjoy rather than as a damning distraction.

http://haloscan.com/tb/catwood/1080069888189988950

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A Good Photo from Mr. Lileks

November 8th, 2008 No comments

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A prettty picture

November 2nd, 2008 No comments
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October 13th, 2008 1 comment


M.R. sent me a link to a page describing a $125,000 bicycle. It looks like it lacks fenders or kickstand, so I’m not enthusiastic. My other question is this:

What kind of lock does it come with?

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Reuleaux Triangle

October 8th, 2008 No comments

This Reuleaux Triangle from Wolfram/Mathematica is a nice idea for a shape. It is the shape a Wankel engine takes, perhaps because you can rotate this triangle inside a square as shown at the Wolfram site.

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Some Math Graphics

July 24th, 2008 1 comment


Dean Anton Sherwood has lots of good math graphics at http://www.ogre.nu/doodle/#chainmail. Here’s one.

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Hebborn: An Example of Why Libel Laws Are Bad

May 16th, 2008 No comments

Eric Hebborn’s career gives us an example of why strict libel laws are bad. Wikipedia says:

In 1978 a curator at the National Gallery of Artin Washington DC , Konrad Oberhuber, was examining a pair of drawings he had purchased for the museum from Colnaghi a seemingly reputable old-master dealer in London, one by Savelli Sperandio and the other by Francesco del Cossa. Oberhuber noticed that two drawings had been executed on the same kind of paper.

Oberhuber was taken aback by the similarities of the paper used in the two pieces and decided to alert his colleagues in the art world. Upon finding another fake “Cossa” at the Morgan Library, this one having passed through the hands of at least three experts, Oberhuber contacted Colnaghi, the source of all three fakes. Colnaghi, in turn, informed the worried curators that all three had been acquired from Hebborn.[1]

Colnaghi waited a full eighteen months before revealing the deception to the media, and, even then never mentioned Hebborn’s name, for fear of a libel suit. Alice Beckett states that she was told ‘…no one talks about him…The trouble is he’s too good'[4]. Thus Hebborn continued to create his forgeries, changing his style slightly to avoid any further unmasking, and manufactured at least 500 more drawings between 1978 and 1988.[2]

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Reproductions in Museums

April 13th, 2008 No comments

I like it that the Victoria and Albert Museum and the London Natural History Museum both have lots of items that are reproductions rather than originals. At the VA there is a room of medieval sculpture reproductions.

Eggs

At the Natural History Museum there are lots of casts of fossils from other collections. I think of the marine animal fossil hall in particular– the pleiosaurs and mosasaurs.

Banfield in his book The Maculate Muse called for this.

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January 29th, 2008 No comments

The Ugly Environment. Steve Sailer points us to the NY Times article, “Why Are They Greener Than We Are?”. The article is about how architects are trying to design buildings that are “green” and “sustainable”, if I may use the misleading buzzwords. What struck me, though, is how uniformly ugly they are. (The buildings, not the architects). They are eyesores, insults to their environment.

“Historically, Germany’s industrial waste flowed down the Rhine to be deposited in Rotterdam’s harbor. “We are the main collecting point for all of Europe’s pollution, its garbage dump,” he said with a smile.

Like many of his contemporaries, Neutelings doesn’t see this landscape as ugly. Nor does he see the creation of bold industrial forms and a sustainable environment as necessarily in conflict. Neutelings and Riedijk’s recently completed Shipping and Transport College, which rises at the edge of an aging industrial pier, looks perfectly at home. The building’s cantilevered top evokes a gigantic periscope; its corrugated metal skin brings to mind the stacked shipping containers still scattered around the port.”

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January 26th, 2008 No comments

Giclee (pronounced “zhee-clay”) reproductions were originally developed in 1989 as a plate-less method of fine art printing. The word Giclée is French for “to spray ” and is a registered trade name of The ‘IRIS’ Printer. … www.artloft.com/terms.htm

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January 20th, 2008 No comments

Alpha Course. My son wanted me to take a picture of this Alpha Course pamphlet, which is indeed striking.

An Alpha Course Pamphlet
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January 5th, 2008 No comments

Penmanship. A good page on penmanship, featuring scans of old instruction books, is “Lessons in Calligraphy and Penmanship” . I was looking for a cursive alphabet page for my daughter and couldn’t find any page that had all the letters in cursive upper and lower case in beautiful handwriting. “ALPHABET PRACTICE – WRITING WORKSHEETS” has good dotted worksheets for all-caps or all-small and for individual letters repeated over a page that are at least acceptable in quality.

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December 26th, 2007 No comments

Free Classical Sheetmusic Downloads. This is harder to find than I thought it would be. For page-by-page GIF files, try the Indiana University Library Variations site. It has the complete Beethoven piano sonatas, which is what I was looking for. The largest classical site seems to be Sheet Music Archive, which says it allows two free downloads of pdf files per day. I only succeeded with one, a fine file, and then for the next two days it’s said Download Limit Exceeded. For $20 you can get a membership, though. Zimmusic is a smaller site where I found some small-size Beethoven bagatelles. None of these are entirely satisfactory, but they are better than the many other sites I came across.

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October 18th, 2007 No comments

A Grand Stone Head. From inside Dore Abbey in Herefordshire. Click the image to enlarge it.

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