31 December 2009

Republican Bust Sculpture (Not That Kind!)

I've been known to be rather emphatic—if not outright hostile and fascistic—about my opinions concerning art. Previously, I have taken up the cause of Classical and Hellenistic Greek naturalistic idealism and have dismissed Roman sculpture as mostly derivative of earlier Greek sculpture.

However, I believe I screwed the pooch on this one. Roman bust sculpture from the Republican period is a fresh addition to sculpture during this period in the Mediterranean.

Here are a few choice examples of Classical and Hellenistic Greek sculpture:

The forms are life-like but idealized.

The Hellenistic period idealized not only musculature and facial structure, but just about everything else too. I'm thinking "Nike of Samothrace," here.

Everything about Nike is BIG! The gestures, the movement, the negative space.

Now consider the humble busts of Republican Rome:

The veristic naturalism of the bust is bold and unapologetic. In some ways, Hellenistic sculpture was attempting to be realer-than-real and Republican sculpture is answering that idea with a question: perhaps the confrontation between our expectations about the Hellenistic "real" (that it will be presented as an ideal) and our experience of the Republican "real" (that it is not ideal and (therefore?) realer than real for real because of all those tiny imperfections and wrinkles and that cruel look in the eye that we don't want to see)?

30 December 2009

Forever 27

I am officially over the hill tomorrow.

29 December 2009

John Yoo At

NYT: What led you to take a job as a professor of constitutional law at Berkeley, of all places, where you’ve taught since 1993?
John "Torture Memo" Yoo: It was the best school that I was able to get a job at. It’s not easy for a conservative to get a job in the academy in any field.

Maybe that's because he ends sentences with prepositions.

Youths Mauled by She-Bears

Usually I am not too amused by atheist satires of Scripture, but this one is pretty good.

Penises & Endangered Avian & Wacky Universities & Biomimicry

GIANT, super-fast, twisty duck penises. Way more information on the evolution of animal penises. Barnacles can grow the largest penises of any animal (relative to body size), but they can also adapt by growing short, girthy penises. An aside: quantum sexual physics ("Your boyfriend’s penis is not that different from an electron").


The Slender-billed Curlew is not thriving.


Liberty "University" "archaeologist" searches for Noah's Ark.


Find the mimic.

28 December 2009

The Future of Investigative Journalism?

An idea: given the the fact that print media are having a hard go of it and that they are the main source for investigative journalism, we should fund a Corps for super-journalists. The Corps would be funded well enough that if an agent is caught in action and jailed, the Corps can bribe those with clout to get them out. Agents would be trained in stealth, journalism, and the latest techniques in self-defense.

26 December 2009

Catholic Stuff

NYT on Catholic/abortion/hospitals/etc:

In an apparent split with Roman Catholic bishops over the abortion-financing provisions of the proposed health care overhaul, the nation’s Catholic hospitals have signaled that they back the Senate’s compromise on the issue, raising hopes of breaking an impasse in Congress and stirring controversy within the church.

23 December 2009

Giant Orangutans

Giant Orangutans at Tet Zoo. More efficient than humans at walking.

Boeing 777

I woke up at 0700 to go birding. One of the most difficult and frustrating parts of birding is not being able to nail down a specific species when you know the general kind of bird you saw. eBird is being a pain in the ass too. I'm grumpy now.

Anyway, check out group of videos documenting the planning, , design, and construction of the Boeing 777.

17 December 2009

American Religion & Sex Clubs & English & Conspiracy Theories & Portraits

Metafilter post about the increasing wishy-washiness in American religion.


British Sex Clubs from the olden days.


What English sounds like to non-native speakers:


Conspiracy theory with critical thinking.


The Human Survey.

24 November 2009

NGM Photos

I normally dislike flower photography, but this just has to be seen!

More Starlings

Starlings over Somerset marsh from Steve Parry on Vimeo.

Starlings from doncrowley on Vimeo.

Starlings 7 from Steve Parry on Vimeo.

Starlings 5 from Steve Parry on Vimeo.

European Starling from Eldon Zigarlick on Vimeo.

Non-mating Plumage:

Europian Starling from Ed Matuod on Vimeo.

Umberto Eco's Books

Eco: I'm afraid that, by now, it might actually be 50,000 books. When my secretary wanted to catalogue them, I asked her not to. My interests change constantly, and so does my library. By the way, if you constantly change your interests, your library will constantly be saying something different about you. Besides, even without a catalogue, I'm forced to remember my books. I have a hallway for literature that's 70 meters long. I walk through it several times a day, and I feel good when I do.

--From interview with Umberto Eco, that lucky bastard

23 November 2009

The Birds and the Bees

Andrew Zuckerman's fantastic site with content from his Bird Book Amazing photos with bird calls also.

We also have Telling the Bees, a super blog about everything bee-related.

11 November 2009

My new favorite bird.

When I was young, my sister voiced her concern over the validity of Plato's view of women in the Republic. She proposed that the entirety of Plato's philosophy is cast into doubt if he be sexist. The same issue arises again. Discuss.

Video: Hitchens + Fry + Archbishop John Onaiyekan + Ann Widdecombe, M.P.

It's as if someone looked up "strawman" in the dictionary and handpicked the two most incompetent defenders of the Catholic faith possible. Christopher Hitchens was a greasy, smarmy, ignorant fool (as usual) and Stephen Fry was well-spoken and convincing.

New Deal

So instead of filling Facebook with postings, I will now consolidate all my writings and links here...for better or for worse.

We begin with the next post, which hopefully will be either about neo-atheism or birds.