Archive for November, 2003

Christopher Lydon Interviews James Gleick about his book: Isaac Newton

November 16, 2003

I am downloading the mp3 here:

James Gleick’s lean, lovely biography is a modern account of Newton’s multiple breakthroughs–and then some. Almost everything we know about apples and moons in motion and at rest, about time, space, gravity, inertia, differential and integral calculus, occurred to Isaac Newton in his early twenties, working in isolation through the London plague years of 1665 and 1666. Gleick’s great gift is making this not merely a lucid history of mathematical ideas but also a meditation on the utterly marvelous, a virtually unexplainable genius. In conversation Jim Gleick underlines the great paradox of Newton. Both medieval and modern, the father of the Enlightenment and modern rationalism was also a determined alchemist and an opinionated Unitarian Christian. Gleick’s book rises to the challenge of that same paradox: it is wise science written with humility and awe. Listen in.

While reading Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver, Gleick’s book looks like it might be interesting.


Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design (Alertbox)

November 15, 2003

Jacob Neilson’s site about the top mistakes. (Alertbox) I’d add one more rule: Making a site really ugly. But mever mind he is right about the ones that he has there, and I stick to them here, but for one:

“8. Non-Standard Link Colors
Links to pages that have not been seen by the user are blue; links to previously seen pages are purple or red. Don’t mess with these colors since the ability to understand what links have been followed is one of the few navigational aides that is standard in most web browsers. Consistency is key to teaching users what the link colors mean.

I think the way that my site is layed out leads one to know what to do… hope so.

james ellroy

November 15, 2003

Birnbaum does great photos too of his interviewees: image theory – james ellroy, by robert birnbaum
james ellroy

See also his Cuba photos .

Robert Birnbaum

November 15, 2003

This is a great collection of interviews by Robert Birnbaum – here is a link to one of many: identity theory | the narrative thread – howard zinn interview
zinn Zinn says things one might expect in the interview:

HZ: It’s really interesting. Here the guy wins the presidency by the most nefarious of methods and without a popular mandate. Losing a popular vote by a larger margin than Hayes lost the popular vote in 1876, but then moves ahead with aplomb, with total arrogance as if the country is his. My feeling is that we are living in an occupied country. Really, that we’ve been taken over, a junta has taken power and now the problem for the American people is to do what people do in an occupied country…

But there was also something there that was new to me and led to a light going on in my head:

HZ: Yeah. The whole concept of punishment is foreign to me. And revenge. To me the only useful thing about bringing these people before the bar of justice is as an education. In a way, by doing that, we are going back to a very primitive approach to punishment…some of the Indian tribes and other indigenous peoples where their idea of punishment is to shame people before the tribe. They’d exile them or send them out in the forest with a glass of water.[laughs] But they’d shame them and that’s a useful thing to do…more serious than putting them behind bars. So, Kissinger deserves to be shamed and the people who have had him as dinner guest deserve to be shamed. Although we should stop short of putting on trial anyone who made a dinner for him.

Now there is an idea. Punishment cls simply be to have a Justice Dept. Website where people were displayed for a period of time. Removal from the site would be like a parole. Some would never be removed & their current address would always need to be there etc. Anyway that is just me taking Zinn’s idea a bit further.

Later: It occurred to me that this idea might be a bit anti civil liberties, but it would not be if one thought of it as an alternative to goal, and I think it could be in many cases. The idea is a tribute to the power of the word.

Archetypes of Cyberspace

November 14, 2003

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Soon in kindle.

A Dictionary of Usage

November 9, 2003

The UVic Writer’s Guide Found this while wondering about towards/toward, answer:

Six of one, half a dozen of the other. But be consistent.

Useful link to have.

Jung, Jungians, and Psychoanalysis

November 9, 2003

Found this via the Jung Page website – who took me to: Matthew Clapp. The Nautis Project which concentrates on CG Jung, Henri Bergson, Rupert Sheldrake, and Joseph Campbell. : “Jung, Jungians, and Psychoanalysis” by Kenneth Eisold, PhD. Looks interesting and I have added it to my pile of printouts…

The break between Freud and Jung and the subsequent division between their followers has had profound and continuing consequences for both parties. The Jungians have continued an ambivalent relationship to psychoanalysis, with the effects of internal conflicts and institutional schisms. Mainstream psychoanalysis, for its part, has used Jung, the primary and still most prominent deviant, to inhibit developments in areas associated with his work. This article explores how the pressure to maintain solidarity and conformity in psychoanalysis has curtailed, in particular, thinking in 3 areas: symbolism, lifelong development, and paranormal experience. It concludes with observations about the opportunities and dangers associated with the move toward pluralism being considered in both camps.”


November 8, 2003

Isaac Newton is talking to his friend about calulus (though that was not his word for it) Neal Stephenson page 83:

But Daniel, the virtue of this approach is that it doesn’t matter what the actual physical situation is, a curve is ever a curve, and whatever you can do to the curve of a river you can do just as rightly to the curve of a weed-we are free from all that old nonsense now.” Meaning the Aristotelian approach, in which such easy mixing of things with obviously different natures would be abhorrent. All that mattered henceforth, apparently, was what form they adopted when translated into the language of analysis. “Translating a thing into the analytical language is akin to what the alchemist does when he extracts, from some crude ore, a pure spirit, or virtue, or pneuma. The feeces-the gross external forms of things-which only mislead and confuse us-are cast off to reveal the underlying spirit. And when this is done we may learn that some things that are superficially different are, in their real nature, the same.”

This is such a simple idea… yet it is really what archetypes are about as well. We can’t come up with a mathematical formulae – but we come up with a powerful myth or symbol!


November 2, 2003

I just snipped the following from my essay, as it is not quite to the point, but like the material so putting it here. Also with the intention of looking again at NetFuture.

Steve Talbott in The Deceiving Virtues Of Technology Netfuture an essay full of refereces to greek mythology does not mention Hermes but has some apt reflections on technology that are clearly Hermetic. The following passage captures the mercurial slipperiness and deviousness. While Hermes does not have the precision and unambiguity needed to build and program computers he is attributed as already mentioned with the invention of the lyre and also with the device for making fire using a twirling stick.

A “device”, for example, can be an objective, invented thing, but it can also be some sort of scheming or contriving of the mind, as when a defendant uses every device he can think of to escape the charges against him. The word “contrivance” shows the same two-sidedness, embracing both mechanical appliances and the carefully devised plans and schemes we concoct in thought. As for “mechanisms” and “machines”, we produce them as visible objects out there in the world even as we conceal our own machinations within ourselves. Likewise, an “artifice” is a manufactured device, or else it is trickery, ingenuity, or inventiveness. “Craft” can refer to manual dexterity in making things or to a ship or aircraft, but a “crafty” person is adept at deceiving others.

Popular Mechanics

November 1, 2003


An interesting item full of stuff about Moreno, but hardly full sociometry. Where is the criteria of “maximum voluntary participation” of these guests that Moreno used to disdinguish his sociometry from pseudo sociometry? This focus of looking at the group mechanistically has led to the title. Sociometry is not a mechanistic approach, but that will be hard for anyone to grasp after the last couple of decades. Still it is interesting that Moreno is still on the agenda somewhere – especially at Harvard.