February 23, 2005
The excellent british comic, Arthur Smith, apparently once quipped:
North London has blue plaques saying who lived where, south London has yellow signs saying who was mugged where.
My favourite blue plaques are these:
On the left is the house Jimi Hendrix lived in. On the right, the house George Frideric Handel lived in.
Must be on some musical ley-line :-}
I wonder what Handel would have made of “Cross Town Traffic”.
February 22, 2005
(from Fark.com photoshop competition. Old to new masters)
February 21, 2005
any excuse to give Henry Reed’s great poem an airing. As you may guess this was set in WWII Britain, a new recruit going through training. (Don’t fret, this may go somewhere.)
To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And to-day we have naming of parts.
This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.
This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.
And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers
They call it easing the Spring.
They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For to-day we have naming of parts.
I was reminded of Reed’s poem whilst reading Confuscious’ Analects.
The one thing needed first is the rectification of names.
Confuscious maintains that every name contains certain implications which constitute the essence of that class of things to which this name applies. Such things, therefore, should agree with this ideal essence. (Astute readers may hear echoes of Plato here, though Confucious predates him by 150 years or so.)
I was, earlier, tidying away some files on my PC, looking for appropriate places to store them. I had a note which I could have put in several different directories (classes of things), and which probably should have been in all of them in order to make them readily retrievable.
Like traditional bookmarks, directories are poor, outmoded, tools. I could just pile everything into one directory of “My stuff” and use google desktop to find them when required. Or tag them (assign one or more attributes to a file), though I’m not sure how that could currently be done, except on the net. Of course, I could store them anywhere, on the net, and add a tag of “Rustle” to them.
Yes, deli.cio.us tags are the way forward. I am a convert.
In a Perician sense we end up with multi-representamens (forms / signs), single objects (to which the signs refer), and an aggregated interpretant (sense made of the signs). The web does seem a nice example of Peirce’s “unlimited semiosis” (where the object is a sign in itself etc. etc.).
I think there is a more universal (not just applied to writing of texts) element of truth in Barthes’ saying that we should concentrate on the signifiers and let the signifieds take care of themselves.
February 20, 2005
so i’ve decided to start a new website. i’ve become mildly obsessed with Metropolitan Police Incident Signs (MPIS). I find myself taking detours to see them. Of course, by their very nature, these signs aren’t always in the most salubrious of areas. I intend to post all these pictures by area and map them. It’s a nice way of looking at serious crime levels. More soon.
But the remarkable thing about them is the terminology. We’ve already seen SERIOUS INCIDENT referring to a drive-by shooting. As opposed to this one, found today:
Another, not yet photographed, read HOMOPHOBIC INCIDENT. I’ve also heard tell of an MPIS on the Old Kent Road which is written only in Korean. Looking forward to checking that out.
But my all time favourite is this one captured this evening:
I imagined running home to announce that a BURGLARY ARTIFICE occured on the corner the other night. Anyone with any idea as to what this actually means?
I’m also very keen on getting hold of more photographs. Spread the word. rustleATclaraDOTcoDOTuk
highly irritated by the continuance of the french connection “fcuk” marketing nightmare, i decided a few weeks ago to launch my own variant, namely “king cnut”, or maybe ‘king cnut. i would get some t-shirts designed and sell them on the web.
so, i take step one . . . go to register the domain name. surprise - it already exists.
this isn’t the first time (there have been many) that i get an idea which has already come to pass, but it surprised me that i had not been aware of king cnut’s existence. i figure if i didn’t know then many of you won’t either.
it turns out it would not have been much of a fun ride anyhow. after dave griffiths set up cnut, french connection sued.
many would have been scared off, not dave griffiths. he did two things:
first he trawled through french connection designs and found where they’d infringed other companies logos within their designs (ford, pepsi etc), then he wrote to the comapnies concerned and got them to sue french connection. this cost FC £3m. yup, THREE MILLION POUNDS. nice.
then he found prior uses of the miss-spelling of the word FUCK and invited those involved to sue too.
what a heart-warming story.
shame about the t-shirts.
February 19, 2005
While on the subject of warnings, and shortly after resuming smoking after a self-imposed one month ban, here are my personal favourite alternate warnings for cigarrette packets.
smoking kills time.
smoking is a small act of rebellion.
smoking gives you 5 minute breaks during the day.
smoking annoys people you don’t mind annoying.
There is a much more comprehensive list here. but it’s not so good (i.e. someone else wrote them).
February 18, 2005
I’ve just come back from barcelona. I love the street art.
Noel Niel is the spanish equivalent to “Neither him nor him”.
These put me in mind of Banksy, a Bristol based street artist who graced my former home with a fine example of his work:
It’s well worth a visit to his site. He offers advice to would be graffitti artists. Like this:
When explaining yourself to the Police its worth being as reasonable as possible. Graffiti writers are not real villains. I am always reminded of this by real villains who consider the idea of breaking in someplace, not stealing anything and then leaving behind a painting of your name in four foot high letters the most retarded thing they ever heard of.
Also interesting to see in Barcelona was the graffitti warnings put up for tourists warning them, in certain places, to look out for theives (right below). Also on the left is a warning about racism.
February 11, 2005
this came up last night. i’m not interested in whether it works or not, it still doesn’t work.
it’s to do with the economic imperative.
homeopathy depends on pills which contain a memory of a particular substance. (think one drop of something in a large swimming pool). it is indeed unlikely that there is a single molecule of that substance in the pill that you are taking. but that’s okay if you you happen to believe that water can retain a memory. indeed, for homeopathy the weaker the solution, the stronger the effect.
but all this does matter if you consider the economic imperative.
when you buy your pills at the homeopathic chemist you trust that the pills have been through some elaborate process in which some substance has been so diluted that no discernable trace remains. yes, the pills could be complete blanks. you buy five different bottles of pills, they’re identical. could be. how would you know?
the economic imperative suggests to me that the pills are unlikely to be what you think they are. it just makes no economic sense. someone could make more money by reducing the work it has to do to fill those bottles, and no test could prove that all was not what it seemed. someone could, therefore someone does.
February 8, 2005
Awesome snowflake photography here.
This site has twelve-sided flakes, triangular flakes, bullet shaped, arrow-heads, and a weird twin-prism:
Johannes Keppler first published “On the Six-Cornered snowflake” in 1611. Descartes followed in 1635 with an accurate description of the morphology of the snow crystal. Robert Hooke in 1665 published a series of drawings he’d made of snowflakes after viewing a number of examples with the new-fangled microscope.
February 7, 2005
There has not been enough in the media about this. It’s not every day that one gets to go to cia.gov is it? This is the National Intelligence Council’s view of how the world is going to shape up towards 2020. They talked to all the “experts”, ran conferences on every continent, and came up with a new little scenario machine which lets you choose different potentials to establish what you think the world may be like. (I’ve lost the link to the try it yourself page. sorry.)
I’m not sure you’re going to get any big surprises but, if you look close enough, you get to learn a few things. Of course the prediction is that the U.S. maintains preeminence economically and militarily, BUT only just on both counts. Good old Blighty shoots out of the G8 and ends up outside of the G20. The ignomy of it all.
Oil. What oil? Exactly.
My favourite aspect of the report is it’s veiw of the UN’s future. It doesn’t have one.