Finally, here is a “guaranteed” way to lengthen your life. Childhood holidays seem to last forever, but as you grow older time seems to accelerate. “Time” is related to how much information you are taking in – information stretches time. A child’s day from 9am to 3.30pm is like a 20-hour day for an adult. Children experience many new things every day and time passes slowly, but as people get older they have fewer new experiences and time is less stretched by information. So, you can “lengthen” your life by minimising routine and making sure your life is full of new active experiences – travel to new places, take on new interests, and spend more time living in the present – see Making Time by Steve Taylor.
We love books for what they carry within them, not for what they’re made of. The story is the thing; the physical book or ereader or tablet or phone is merely the delivery device. When you fetishize the physical properties of an object, you devalue its contents. When you freak out over the ‘destruction’ of books, you are not elevating books. You are reducing the intangible magic of stories to the ink, pulp, and glue that deliver them to you.
I don’t agree.
I’ll go as far as to concede that books are not sacred objects. I’ve been known to cut up books and I adore the work of artists such as Sue Blackwell and the unknown Edinbugh Book Sculptor. Works like these are beautiful objects, not a crime but a celebration of books; and more often than not the stories they tell.
However the idea that, to borrow Schinsky’s word, ‘fetishise’ the physical form of a book devalues is content makes no sense to me. Not so long ago over on my other Tumblr I posted I link about the 'Architecture of Memory', granted more about building memory palaces than books but please bear with me for a moment.
One of the arguments made by the article is the difference between a place and a site, what other theorists may refer to as place and non-place. A site, or non-place, is somewhere with no distinguishing features, or somewhere we pass through on the way to a place. A place in contrast is somewhere unique, with distinct features that allow us to more easily relate memories to them. In building a memory palace, the most effective method is to greatly exaggerate these details.
The same may be said of the delivery device of books. I’ve said many times that with a book comes a sense of history, it’s own distinguishing features. In that sense a book may be thought of in the same terms as a place; whereas a Kindle or iPad is in this respect a site. It’s not then a great leap to suggest that the physical form of the book can enhance our relationship with its contents if it makes our memories of them stronger. For example, coming across a book you have not read in years may stir memories of the text - or perhaps where you were when you read it - before even reading a word. I genuinely don’t believe you can say the same of an e-reader.
I’m not saying that reading books on a tablet means that you cannot form any connection with the stories, of course not. I read books on my iPad, in fact at the moment I’m about halfway through Anna Karenina; before I started that I’d been re-reading The Great Gatsby. But I have no where, no place, with which to relate my memories of the text. I vividly remember the art deco style cover of the copy of Gatsby I read back in high school, but I have no such connection to make with the same text stored on my iPad. Not only does the device have fewer apparent distinguishing features but it is also the site of many books and I struggle to find anything to tease the memories apart.
I don’t see this changing any time soon, until it does I have no problem with holding paper and glue in high regard.
One of my photographs has made it to the final of the Stills monthly Facebook Photo Challenge. If you like this picture please also Like it on Facebook. Thank you!
This made me giggle this morning.
I’m going to save that one for a rainy day at the pub.
Found — appropriately (?) — in a copy of Love Is Not Constantly Wondering If You Are Making the Biggest Mistake of Your Life.
(By the way, Strand Books does this kind of found note/photograph/art thing all the time, and we love it.)
To be human is to be aware of the passage of time; no concept lies closer to the core of our consciousness.
— A brief history of timekeeping and the calendar as a meme
We have more moral, political, and historical wisdom than we know how to reduce into practice; we have more scientific and economical knowledge than can be accommodated to the just distribution of the produce which it multiplies. The poetry in these systems of thought is concealed by the accumulation of facts and calculating processes…. The cultivation of those sciences which have enlarged the limits of the empire of man over the external world, has, for want of the poetical faculty, proportionally circumscribed those of the internal world; and man, having enslaved the elements, remains himself a slave.
— Megan Garber unearths an 1821 lament about “information overload” by poet Percy Bysshe Shelley – a reminder that it is, and always has been, absolutely critical to mind our information diet. (via explore-blog)
10) Every star you see in the night sky is bigger and brighter than our Sun
Of the 5,000 or so stars brighter than magnitude 6, only a handful of very faint stars are approximately the same size and brightness of our Sun and the rest are all bigger and brighter. Of the 500 or so that are brighter than 4th magnitude (which includes essentially every star visible to the unaided eye from a urban location), all are intrinsically bigger and brighter than our Sun, many by a large percentage. Of the brightest 50 stars visible to the human eye from Earth, the least intrinsically bright is Alpha Centauri, which is still more than 1.5 times more luminous than our Sun, and cannot be easily seen from most of the Northern Hemisphere.
9) You can’t see millions of stars on a dark night
Despite what you may hear in TV commercials, poems and songs, you cannot see a million stars … anywhere. There simply are not enough close enough and bright enough. On a really exceptional night, with no Moon and far from any source of lights, a person with very good eyesight may be able to see 2000-2500 stars at any one time. (Counting even this small number still would be difficult.). So the next time you hear someone claim to have seen a million stars in the sky, just appreciate it as artistic license or exuberant exaggeration – because it isn’t true!
8) Red hot and cool ice blue – NOT!
We are accustomed to referring to things that are red as hot and those that are blue as cool. This is not entirely unreasonable, since a red, glowing fireplace poker is hot and ice, especially in glaciers and polar regions, can have a bluish cast. But we say that only because our everyday experience is limited. In fact, heated objects change color as their temperature changes, and red represents the lowest temperature at which a heated object can glow in visible light. As it gets hotter, the color changes to white and ultimately to blue. So the red stars you see in the sky are the “coolest” (least hot), and the blue stars are the hottest!
7) Stars are black bodies
A black body is an object that absorbs 100 percent of all electromagnetic radiation (that is, light, radio waves and so on) that falls on it. A common image here is that of a brick oven with the interior painted black and the only opening a small window. All light that shines through the window is absorbed by the interior of the oven and none is reflected outside the oven. It is a perfect absorber. As it turns out, this definition of being perfect absorbers suits stars very well! However, this just says that a blackbody absorbs all the radiant energy that hits it, but does not forbid it from re-emitting the energy. In the case of a star, it absorbs all radiation that falls on it, but it also radiates back into space much more than it absorbs. Thus a star is a black body that glows with great brilliance! (An even more perfect black body is a black hole, but of course, it appears truly black, and radiates no light.)
6) There are no green stars
Although there are scattered claims for stars that appear green, including Beta Librae (Zuben Eschamali), most observers do not see green in any stars except as an optical effect from their telescopes, or else an idiosyncratic quirk of personal vision and contrast. Stars emit a spectrum (“rainbow”) of colors, including green, but the human eye-brain connection mixes the colors together in a manner that rarely if ever comes out green. One color can dominate the radiation, but within the range of wavelengths and intensities found in stars, greens get mixed with other colors, and the star appears white. For stars, the general colors are, from lower to higher temperatures, red, orange, yellow, white and blue. So as far as the human eye can tell, there are no green stars.
5) The Sun is a green star
That being said, the Sun is a “green” star, or more specifically, a green-blue star, whose peak wavelength lies clearly in the transition area on the spectrum between blue and green. This is not just an idle fact, but is important because the temperature of a star is related to the color of its most predominate wavelength of emission. (Whew!) In the Sun’s case, the surface temperature is about 5,800 K, or 500 nanometers, a green-blue. However, as indicated above, when the human eye factors in the other colors around it, the Sun’s apparent color comes out a white or even a yellowish white.
4) The Sun is a “dwarf” star
We are accustomed to think of the Sun as a “normal” star, and in many respects, it is. But did you know that it is a “dwarf” star? You may have heard of a “white dwarf,” but that is not a regular star at all, but the corpse of a dead star. Technically, as far as “normal” stars go (that is, astronomical objects that produce their own energy through sustained and stable hydrogen fusion), there are only “dwarfs,” “giants” and “supergiants.” The giants and supergiants represent the terminal (old age) stages of stars, but the vast majority of stars, those in the long, mature stage of evolution (Main Sequence) are all called “dwarfs.” There is quite a bit of range in size here, but they are all much smaller than the giants and supergiants. So technically, the Sun is a dwarf star, sometimes called “Yellow Dwarf” in contradiction to the entry above!
3) Stars don’t twinkle
Stars appear to twinkle (“scintillate”), especially when they are near the horizon. One star, Sirius, twinkles, sparkles and flashes so much some times that people actually report it as a UFO. But in fact, the twinkling is not a property of the stars, but of Earth’s turbulent atmosphere. As the light from a star passes through the atmosphere, especially when the star appears near the horizon, it must pass through many layers of often rapidly differing density. This has the effect of deflecting the light slightly as it were a ball in a pinball machine. The light eventually gets to your eyes, but every deflection causes it to change slightly in color and intensity. The result is “twinkling.” Above the Earth’s atmosphere, stars do not twinkle.
2) You can see 20 quadrillion miles, at least
On a good night, you can see about 19,000,000,000,000,000 miles, easily. That’s 19 quadrillion miles, the approximate distance to the bright star Deneb in Cygnus. which is prominent in the evening skies of Fall and Winter. Deneb is bright enough to be seen virtually anywhere in the Northern hemisphere, and in fact from almost anywhere in the inhabited world. There is another star, Eta Carina, that is a little more than twice as far away, or about 44 quadrillion miles. But Eta Carina is faint, and not well placed for observers in most of the Northern hemisphere. Those are stars, but both the Andromeda Galaxy and the Triangulum Galaxy are also visible under certain conditions, and are roughly 15 and 18 quintillion miles away! (One quintillion is 10^18!)
1) Black holes don’t “suck”
Many writers frequently describe black holes as “sucking” in everything around them. And it is a common worry among the ill-informed that the so-far hypothetical “mini” black holes that may be produced by the Large Hadron Collider would suck in everything around them in an ever increasing vortex that would consume the Earth! “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” Well, I am not Shoeless Joe Jackson, but it ain’t so. In the case of the LHC, it isn’t true for a number of reasons, but black holes in general do not “suck.”
This not just a semantic distinction, but one of process and consequence as well. The word “suck” via suction, as in the way vacuum cleaners work, is not how black holes attract matter. In a vacuum cleaner, the fan produces a partial vacuum (really, just a slightly lower pressure) at the floor end of the vacuum, and regular air pressure outside, being greater, pushes the air into it, carrying along loose dirt and dust.
In the case of black holes, there is no suction involved. Instead, matter is pulled into the black hole by a very strong gravitational attraction. In one way of visualizing it, it really is a bit like falling into a hole, but not like being hoovered into it. Gravity is a fundamental force of Nature, and all matter has it. When something is pulled into a black hole, the process is more like being pulled into like a fish being reeled in by an angler, rather than being pushed along like a rafter inexorably being dragged over a waterfall.
The difference may seem trivial, but from a physical standpoint it is fundamental.
So black holes don’t suck, but they are very cool. Actually, they are cold. Very, very cold. But that’s a story for another time.
This may seem a bit tl;dr, but trust us it’s fantastic and worth a read. And hey, if you don’t want to read it - at least look at the pretty gif. Oooh, Sparkle.
The quickest way to make money at photography is to sell your camera.
— Unknown - via @PhotoArtQuotes on Twitter