I am exhausted this first week of school, and knew it would be difficult. How difficult… very. In fact, I have not had the energy or inspiration to settle in to a drawing, much less paint it.
Tonight I didn’t compromise, but I relied on an old standby; me. What better way to express this fatigue than with color, lines and mood.
I like persevering and holding a big brush.
“They always say the best way to see the Gwent Levels is with a microscope or a helicopter”. I was walking through the stunning June meadows and dense willow copses of Magor Marsh Nature Reserve with Sorrel Jones, a conservation officer for the Gwent Wildlife Trust. The last relic fenland in south-east Wales, Magor Marsh was my first port of call on the protected Levels, and it hadn’t taken long to understand its significance – the place thrummed and buzzed with summer life. “You’ve either got to get right in and go, Look, this is amazing down here, or you’ve got to get up high and see this vast, extraordinary landscape from above”, said Sorrel, carrying her young son on her back as we walked, who kept irrepressibly pointing out cygnets and baby mallards in the water at the edge of the meadows. As much as the thought of…
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“How are you?”
It’s become the standard answer to the question.
Ah, yes. We’re busy. We’re all so very busy. We have so much going on. Things are CRAZY.
I’m not doubting that life tends to get hectic. Jobs and kids and pets and Instagram accounts. Yard work and work outs. Parents get medical procedures and laundry gets left in the washer.
We all have stuff.
But somehow, being “busy” seems have become a point of pride in our culture. Like, “I am a very important person because I only have time to sleep for five hours a night.”
That doesn’t make you important. You know what that makes you? A victim of advanced interrogation techniques.
I just had a book published. I did a book tour and media that consisted of things like twelve radio interviews in one day. I’m writing another book, I write two blogs, contribute to various online publications…
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In a peculiar instance of art imitating life, I happened to read J. G. Ballard’s 1960 short story ‘Chronopolis’ during a recent stay in Detroit. In Ballard’s tale, set in a future city (the Chronopolis of the title), the population have completely abandoned the notion of sequential time, resulting in a city that is ‘effectively an enormous ring, five miles in width, encircling a vast dead centre forty or fifty miles in diameter.’ Hiding his own interest in the now forbidden timepieces of his ancestors, the central character Conrad sets off on a journey into this abandoned city, meeting the renegade Marshall, and restarting the city’s clocks once again. Typical of Ballard’s writing, this seemingly fantastical story was eerily prescient of the fate of the city in which I read it. Detroit’s decline is always narrated with shocking statistics and chronological landmarks: the riots/rebellion of 1967…
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What you are about to read is somewhat off topic for the Renaissance Mathematicus, but as I’ve said on a number of occasions I reserve the right to post here what I will, after all it’s my blog. I received an unsolicited email from Jacob Steere-Williams, who is Assistant Professor of History at the College of Charleston asking me to post this on Whewell’s Ghost. As I only post Whewell’s Gazette there theses days, I didn’t think it was a very good idea but because I found Jacob’s post well worth reading I have decided to post it here. Although it doesn’t deal with the history of science, Renaissance or otherwise, it does deal with some general historiographical points that I consider important so I offer it to my readers to read, contemplate and digest. I’m sure Jacob would also be interested in any thoughts it provokes amongst those that read…
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Photos by Manish Swarup
Harjeet Singh can usually be found riding around New Delhi on his Harley Davidson Superlow, or helping foreign companies set up operations in India. At home, the businessman has staff to clean and cook for his family. But at the gurdwara where he worships alongside other Sikhs, he sweeps the floor, cleans dirty dishes and helps prepare meals for thousands not as fortunate as him.
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