Thursday 29 June 2017
Wednesday 28 June 2017
Arthur Waley (1889-1966) was a fascinating English scholar who made a living from translating classical Chinese and Japanese poetry and literature into English, though he couldn't speak modern Chinese or Japanese and never visited the countries (Bio HERE).
In 1970 Ivan Morris pubished Madly singing in the mountains; an appreciation and anthology of Arthur Waley. From Intent of Courtesy, a piece by Carmen Blacker in the book:
The feeling that Arthur’s death had taken us into a world where there moved forces and concatenations bigger than those we encounter in our ordinary existence continued when, a fortnight later, I called at the house in Highgate to see Alison. She took me up to the room where he had died. A great peace filled it and I marveled at such serenity in the place where such pain had been suffered. ‘I have changed nothing,’ she said. ‘But that chair by the window wasn’t green, was it?’ I asked. ‘Oh, that,” she replied. ‘Yes, funny how the creeper has come in.’ I looked again. Through the window left open since he died the creeper had burst in like a lion. It had entirely covered the armchair with a thick coat of green leaves. It had flung tendrils across an entire wall. It had seized the long curtain and twined itself tightly round it in a spiral grip from floor to ceiling. It was as though the world of nature had flung itself into the room, and I thought of the swarms of bees which sometimes alight on the graves of saints or the birds which descend at the funerals of great men. That Arthur should have received this oblation seemed entirely fitting.
Posted by Matt at 09:28
Monday 26 June 2017
I am everyman and no man, and will be so to the end. This is why I must tell the story as I may. Not for the nameless name upon the page, not for the trails behind me that faded or led nowhere, ... not for the confusion of where I was to go, or if I had a destiny recognisable by any start. No, in retrospect it was the loneliness of not knowing, not knowing at all.
Loren Eiseley in All the Strange Hours: The Excavation of a Life (1975).
The above piece is cited in a book on Loren Eiseley's "concealed essay" genre of science based writings in Toward a Dialogue of Understandings: Loren Eiseley and the Critique of Science by Mary Ellen Pitts.
More on Eiseley HERE.
Posted by Matt at 13:09
Thursday 15 June 2017
Wednesday 14 June 2017
A spatial map of Tokyo, from a 2012 presentation given by Dr Kerstin Sailer of UCL (HERE). Caption: Tokyo with its fairly strong centre, strong radials and strong laterals, generating the strong sub-city structure characteristic of Tokyo.
Image Copyright Bill Hillier et al.
Posted by Matt at 16:15
Tuesday 13 June 2017
Below, from the under-used, but excellent, textbook by Edward Tufte: Data Analysis for Politics and Policy (Prentice Hall: 1974)
One final point about the relationship between causal inference and statistical analysis. Statistical techniques do not solve any of the common-sense difficulties about making causal inferences. Such techniques may help organize or arrange the data so that the numbers speak more clearly to the question of ausality - but that is all statistical techniques can do. All the logical, theoretical, and empirical difficulties attendnant to establishing a causal relationship persist no matter what type of statistical analysis is applied. "There is," as Thurber moralized, "no safety in numbers, or in anything else."
THE FAIRLY INTELLIGENT FLY
A large spider in an old house built a beautiful web in which to catch flies. Every time a fly landed on the web and was entangled in it the spider devoured him, so that when another fly came along he would think the web was a safe and quiet place to rest. One day a fairly intelligent fly buzzed around above the web so long without lighting that the spider appeared and said, "Come on down." But the fly was too clever for him and said, "I never light where I don't see other flies and I don't see other flies in your house." So he flew away until he came to a place where there were a great many other flies. He was about to settle down among them when a bee buzzed up and said, "Hold it, stupid, that's flypaper. All those flies are trapped." "Don't be silly," said the fly, "they're dancing." So he settled down and became stuck to the flypaper with all the other flies.
Moral: There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.
By James Thurber.
Originally in The New Yorker 4th February 1939
Posted by Matt at 15:37
Wednesday 7 June 2017
An excellent and significant paper in Nature on the latest findings on the early history of Homo sapiens (HERE).
Posted by Matt at 20:44