I think we can all agree the TED talks are pretty terrific, top to bottom. I wanted to point you toward one in particular in case you missed it, namely Arthur Ganson, sculptor and engineer, talking about some of his kinetic art. His work just… makes me happy. Pictured above is Machine with Wishbone. Also of interest- the flickr Kinetic Sculpture pool, and the expansive Kineticus.

Dated: 07.19  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

S’more Mallow S’more Problems
Quote: Money is a powerful force in human life and affairs. Its very power gives pause to those who look to evolution for full explanations of human behavior, because money has not existed long enough to have influenced evolution. By some estimates, money only goes back a couple thousand years, which is too short even to have influenced human evolution. Still, one can get some clues as to how evolution prepared us for money from the burgeoning research that seeks to present animals with economic choices. To gain perspective on human financial decisions, one may ask, what would monkeys do? Monkeys don’t care about money, per se, but they do care about marshmallows.

The Evolution of Economic Rationality: Do Monkeys Understand Money? (And yes, if you suspected this post was simply an excuse to make an image of a monkey wearing a fat lucky-charms and peeps chain, you were spot on.)

Dated: 07.19  Comments: 2   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

I originally created the image above with plans of making it a t-shirt graphic. I came to my senses, however, when it dawned on me that the segment of my readership which might fall under the “sexually submissive nerd in search of intimacy who happens to also be painfully shy, thus requiring a goofy Jeopardy! pun t-shirt to break the ice at bars” demographic might not be that terribly large.

Anyhow, I’m not one to let a decent graphic go to waste so I decided to use it for a Jeopardy! related post of some kind. Turns out the “some kind” is the “meh” kind, but I’ll press on. The best related linkage I managed to find are: This obsessionally thorough wikipedia page on the many incarnation of the Jeopardy! set with groovy photos. Some iterations of the theme song Think!. A slew of SNL celebrity Jeopardy! clips featuring the legendary Hammond-as-Connery bits. And finally two notable shots of Trebek- Aw yeah baby, “What is sexy muthafucka?” It is what it is.

Dated: 07.17  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

Royalty’s all consuming concern for controlled lines of succession and the Church’s all consuming concern for the comings and goings of their flock’s reproductive organs sure did converge to do a number on children born out of wedlock! Poor bastards. Evidently a perusal of Parish registers, especially those prior to the 19th century, are positively awash in irritated euphemisms for bastardy. It dawned on me that some of the more creative among you might wish to utilize these variants when questioning the paternity of your enemies. See below for a short list (each linked, incidentally, to a notable bastard).

Dated: 07.17  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

Quote: life on the internet is fleeting, there is a group of history blogs that seem to me to be central to history blogging. I don’t presume to… suggest that they are better than other history blogs that are not on the list. I do mean to say that, without them, history education on the internet would be seriously impoverished. -Ralph E. Luker.

I’d like to offer a heartfelt, albeit slightly belated, thanks to Ralph, of HNN’s Cliopatria blog, for including The Nonist amongst such fine company. You can check out his list of 80 history blogs for yourself here. I must say the thought that my absence might “seriously impoverish” others fills me with a sense of not entirely benevolent power. I imagine standing on a mountain, thunder clapping, while I shout above the din, “Mind your tongues lest I, the great and powerful Nonist, impoverish you! Mwah-ha-ha…” +

Dated: 07.16  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

Moonlighting engineers with help from retirees and space enthusiasts plan alternate rocket and moon mission? No it is not the pitch for the newest Joss Whedon series.

Quote: By day, the engineers work on NASA’s new Ares moon rockets. By night, some go undercover to work on a competing design (called Jupiter). These dissenting scientists and their backers insist they have created an alternative rocket that would be safer, cheaper and easier to build than the two Ares spacecraft that will replace the space shuttle.

Jupiter developers say: It’s simpler, more powerful, and would save about 35 billion dollars over two years. Plus, rogue engineers bootstrapping to the moon? Hells yeah. 

NASA says: It’s little more than a sketch on a napkin. It’s not feasible and it won’t work. Now got off the lawn you pesky kids!

I just love this story. Not only for the space-related super-dork intrigue of it all. That we are getting to the point where such things can even be considered is thrilling. Check out the napkin in question-Direct 2.0 for tons of info, images, animations, etc. Also, check out Stephen Metschan’s 2 part story from a couple months back.

Dated: 07.16  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

Is Heinrich Kieber a modern-day robin hood? No. A new folk-hero trying to awaken the sleepy / sheepy masses to the realities of a ceasless class war? No. An idealistic do-gooder taking a stand in a world sucked-dry by vampiric corporate greed? Nope. Truth be told he’s not even a conflicted but ethically outraged whistleblower. Not even close. Heinrich Kieber was convicted of real estate fraud in Spain, fled to his native Liechtenstein, and while working there as an employee of the Liechtenstein Global Trust, stole from the rich to give to… who else? himself.

Dated: 07.16  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

Hello: Just a note to let you know my Mac died after 5-plus years of tireless service and I am in the process right now of setting up a new system, recovering data, etc. I may be MIA for a few days. Will return to you soon. -J

Dated: 07.13  Comments: 5   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

Serif’s Lament. The Serif, as elegant and sophisticated a workhorse as you’re likely to see. Unsung hero of the printed word since presses first began their clacking. But older than that; much older. Old enough to be chiseled into worn-down Roman stone, with origins (both physical and etymological) at least as fuzzy. And yet in the last century or so… how neglected. How maligned! With each new call for utilitarianism, practicality, and modernism the noble Serif has suffered. Today, a decade into the internet revolution, well, the Serif has fallen on hard times. Called upon less and less it must make due with work as body copy and Woody Allen film credits. While Helvetica walks the red carpet the Serif, left behind, laments, “WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?” Readability is an issue however, and no one understands.

Two versions of this design are available one printed in black for light apparel and one printed in white for dark apparel. (See below for larger versions.) 

Dated: 07.10  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

Quote: Wisconsin law bans sex with dead bodies, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in reinstating charges against three men accused of digging up a corpse to have sex with it. The court waded into the grisly case after lower court judges ruled nothing in state law banned necrophilia. (Link)

Notice if you will that the courts ruling was a 5-2 decision. A 5-2 DECISION! As you can see from the court sketches above, reaction to the ruling was mixed as well. (Thnx D.)

Dated: 07.10  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

For your entertainment and personal pleasure I now pass on some eminantly useful occult knowledge, long forgotten by such as we. Taken from a 1913 publication titled The Book of Ceremonial Magic by Arthur Edward Waite, this spell is sure to liven-up a dull evening at home. (As always, please remember that The Nonist is not responsible for any demonic possessions, ghoul maulings, or imp slaps, so conjure with care.) See below to learn…

How to Cause the Appearance of Three Ladies or Three Gentlemen in One’s Room After Supper.


Dated: 07.10  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

Today I punched someone in the face. Sounds crazy I know, but it’s a fact. I was returning to the office with a co-worker, after lunch, when I was asked by a squatter/punk-type guy whether I “had any money for blah blah blah.” I responded with a simple and brusque “no” returning to my conversation (which, of all things, was about mega-churches). Said guy, unhappy with my response and lack of interest evidently, proceeded to kick me in the back of the leg. Weird right? So I turned on my heels and punched him full-on in the head.

Dated: 07.09  Comments: 11   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

SciAm has an interesting article up about a saucer-shaped IFO called the wingless electromagnetic air vehicle (WEAV) that will (read might) “propel itself using electrodes that cover its surface to ionize the surrounding air into plasma.” Professor Subrata Roy says, “All of the materials needed to make this aircraft currently exist and plasma is the most abundant form of matter in the universe. If we can somehow tap into that in the future we should be able to fly anywhere.” I say, “perfect excuse for an artist’s conception.” More coverage here

Dated: 07.08  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

A notorious tease, he may pretend
not to be aware of you.
Just wait.
He must speak first. Then
you may begin to praise him.

sincerity and naturalness
count for more than wit.
His jokes may strike you as
Only laugh if he does.

They say he’s mad for art,
but whether in the melting
elegiac mode of, say, this
Vase of Poppies
or, turning the mirror
to his own face, a bronze skull
gorging on a snake—
that is a matter of taste.
In any case, the expense
is what he notices.

What to wear.
Some authorities
still insist on black.
But really, in this modern age,
your best is all that is required.

Tom Disch

Also: On Genius from Camp Concentration.

Dated: 07.08  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

Ape Resistance. Imagine, if you will an already backward-leaning country, by some strange cast of the die, sliding full-tilt into dogmatic lunacy. Imagine the ascendance of a bona-fide Theocratic state which, above all, ruthlessly “discourages” any mention of evolution or natural selection. Imagine a scientific and non-believer community driven “underground.” The resultant resistance would need a clandestine symbology to identify one another in back-alleys and call others of like mind to arms, something to spray on cathedral walls and wheat paste across incense clouded metropoli.

In advance of this highly improbable possibility I hereby nominate a few pop-cultural symbols heretofore without specific meaning but none the less widely recognized as related to, respectively, the chimpanzee, the orangutan, and the gorilla. These are the symbols worn by the civilized primates on The Planet of the Apes and as such a film would surely be purged from the collective consciousness under an evolution-denying Theocracy, I believe they make the perfect samantics-free but association-rich pro-Darwinian statement. And now you, dear reader, can make that statement from the comfort of your own t-shirt.

Whether it is, in fact, a few of these t-shirts, surviving after humanity obliterates itself, that ultimately inspires the future planet-ruling ape civilization to adopt these symbols in the first place… (Pantheistic solipsism and all that) well, who can tell?

See below for all three designs.

Dated: 07.06  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

Some Geo. Mather’s Sons Inks: (left to right, top to bottom) Jacqueminot Red. Photo Brown. Old Gold. Fine Chocolate. Blue Black—Deep. Magenta. Peacock Blue. Permanent Purple—Bluish. Persian Orange. Carminated Red. Gloss Black. Light Green.

Slightly adapted from the handsome Price List of Type, Printing Machinery and Material. Manufactured and for Sale by the Printer’s Warehouse, G. Edw. Osborn & Co. 398 State St., - New Haven Conn. 1892.

Dated: 07.06  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

If you’ve never seen E. Elias Merhige’s hallucinatory and gorgeous film Begotten, well, here it is. Admittedly this is a film not best watched on a computer screen on a lazy summer Sunday afternoon. This is a film meant to be watched alone, in February, at 2 am, on the biggest screen you’ve got, with the lights out and alarmingly potent chemicals of some kind coursing through your system. This is the full version, however, and almost certain to be taken down, so I figured I’d post it while the posting was good. Alternately, if you are faint of heart or simply have no patience for “experimental” film, you might try the yakety-yak version

Dated: 07.06  Comments: 0   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

Came across a terrific bit of primate related reading today which I wanted to pass on. It’s a pdf titled PrimatePoetics hosted over at SocialFiction. The pamphlet posits that non-human primates have long been observed to use their own type of language in the wild, and that in captivity, those primates being taught human language, through signs, are in effect creating a new language altogether.

Quote: Our language, when it is passed on to a different species, becomes a new language. PrimatePoetics is born from the realization that this language should be appreciated in its own right, as the greatest revolution in literature since the invention of written Chinese 4000 years ago.

Regardless of your take on this assertion the pdf is well worth a read in that it’s a primer of sorts of the history of primate language study and offers an overview, on an “ape-by-ape basis,” of relevant milestones. Very interesting stuff. The illustration above is, of course, a visualization of what I imagine the great apes will say to us once they master their facility for language.

Dated: 07.05  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

The image you see above is evidently a cabalistic (or qabalistic) symbol of the infinite. It contains within itself all the lines and curves necessary to represent the numbers 1 through 10, as is clearly visible by the added indicators in black. In Hermetic Qabalistic tradition the numbers themselves are representations of the 10 planes of reality, emanations arising from the Ain Suph (or infinite), which are collectively called the Sephiroth. These, as commonly depicted in the Tree of Life are called: Kether (1), Chokhmah (2), Binah (3), Daath, Chesed (4), Geburah (5), Tiphareth (6), Netzach (7), Hod (8), Yesod (9), Malkuth (10), and are each considered to be an emanation of the divine energy (or “divine light’) which ever flows from the unmanifest into manifestation.

Perhaps it is simply that I am uninitiated into the great mysteries, or that I am a disbelieving spiritually bereft heathen, but the “divine” use I immediately imagined for this symbol was something altogether different…

Dated: 07.05  Comments: 2   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »

In case you missed it cover art for the third series of radically redesigned Penguin Classics have seen the light of day over at We Made This. You can see them in all their monochromatic glory here. (Thanks Pierce) Pictured above are two of my faves. On the left Orwell’s Books V. Cigarettes, and on the right, to my mind possibly one of the most perfect book covers ever created, Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Both are by David Pearson. Check out series I and II, and hell, check out these for good measure. 

Dated: 07.05  Comments: 1   Permanent link to this post: &equiv   Email this post: »