From the category archives:


By Margaret Atwood


via The Future of Books


A newspaper box in St. Petersburg, Florida

A newspaper box in St. Petersburg, Florida

A closeup of the sign

A closeup of the sign

Photo Credit: Jim Blair


Egypt Remembers

The faces of murdered Egyptian protesters




January 29, 2011

in History,Image,Place,Storytelling

Egyptians form a human wall to protect the history museum in Cairo

Unconfirmed, but hopefully true

Citizens form a human wall around the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to protect historical artifacts within.



Battle of the Centaurs by Michelangelo Buonarroti

(Photo credit: Sailko)


El Perro

El Perro (1819-23)

Robert Hughes:

“Goya was one of those uncommon artists who had the daring, or the folly, to take on the whole scale of human fate. It was a huge scale, and nobody works on it today, because our sense of the possibility of art — what it can do, what it can say, and why it can matter — is so depleted. But it never occurred to Goya that art might not be able to say anything and everything about our nature, our desires and our fears. He just assumed that it could, and he went ahead. And by assuming it, he left us with the difficult task of living up to his peculiar intensity. And if we can’t, as is likely, at least he shows us that. Nearly two hundred years after he died, to meet Goya, is still to meet ourselves. “

Goya and his doctor

Goya and his doctor

At the bottom of the painting:

“Goya agradecido á su amigo Arrieta: por el acierto y esmero con q.e le salvo la vida en su aguda y peligrosa enfermedad, padecida á fines del año 1819, a los setenta y tres años de su edad. Lo pintó en 1820.”

Google’s attempted translation:

“Goya grateful to his friend Arrieta: for the wisdom and care with [...] saved his life in his acute and dangerous illness suffered at the end of 1819, at seventy – three years of age. It was painted in 1820.”

And a reminder:

"I am still learning"

From sometime in the last four years of his life

The translation of Aún aprendo: “I am still learning.”


A shower of debris?

February 2, 2010

in Image

Or an Undulating Fragment from Oblivion?

I don’t know.

But this image that the Hubble Space Telescope took is quite beautiful:

X at 11000mph

X at 11000mph


Snowfall at Dusk

December 29, 2009

in Image,Place,Senses

I actually choked on a snowflake earlier this evening, but my cold, wet walk was worth it.

Snowfall in Portland (Dusk)

This evening in Portland

{ 1 comment }

A Happy Collision

November 25, 2009

in History,Image

CERN flipped the switch again on the Large Hadron Collider, two proton beams sped towards each other — a crash, then sub-atomic shrapnel.

And a roomful of people experience a moment of joy that’s been 14 years in the making:

LHC Scientists: Professional Ecstasy

LHC Scientists: Professional Ecstasy


I went momiji-viewing late this afternoon, and there was just something in the air, or the light, or the drizzle, or the combination that seemed like an ending.

Can fall be over already?


On the 60th anniversary of the founding of the (so-called) People’s Republic of China, this image resonated with me:

Camouflage 2 by Liu Bolin

Camouflage 2 by Liu Bolin

From photographer Liu Bolin:

“I choose to merge myself into the environment. Saying that I am disappeared in the environment, it would be better to say that the environment has licked me up and I can not choose active and passive relationship.

In the environment of emphasizing cultural heritage, concealment is actually no place to hide.”

via Shoot! The Blog and designboom


I never expected to post any cat pictures on this particular blog, but there are moments for everything. And when a form reaches a pinnacle like this, lines must be crossed, and implied rules tossed.

(Why not throw in a facile and silly rhyme, too?)

It is a slightly misshapen watermelon...

It is a slightly misshapen watermelon...

I don’t know who took this picture, or how or why. (I found it via

But I identify with this cat, its absurd situation, and the look of determination on its face despite its surreal and quasi-Sisyphean task. (I’m projecting, of course.)

Cribbing from some anonymous Wikipedian:

Albert Camus, in his 1942 essay The Myth of Sisyphus, sees Sisyphus as personifying the absurdity of human life, but concludes “one must imagine Sisyphus happy” as “The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.”

Or, perhaps, a cat’s heart.

Keep pushing, little watermelon cat. I imagine you happy.

Or at least out of the water, with your nose buried deep in that watermelon.


Where's the focus on this thing?

The focus needs some work...

No, that’s not a pinhole-camera photo of someone with a plutonium throat lozenge in their mouth.

Researchers at IBM have created the first image of a single molecule using a “crazy powerful microscope” — with an exposure time of 20 hours.

And for those of you wincing at my second science post in one week, here’s a little excerpt of Lucretius, translated by Rolfe Humphries:

Never suppose the atoms had a plan,
Nor with a wise intelligence imposed
An order on themselves, nor in some pact
Agreed what movements each should generate.
No, it was all fortuitous; for years,
For centuries, for eons, all those motes
In infinite varieties of ways
Have always moved, since infinite time began,
Are driven by collisions, are borne on
By their own weight, in every kind of way
Meet and combine, try every possible,
Every conceivable pattern, till at length
Experiment culminates in that array
Which makes great things begin: the earth, the sky,
The ocean, and the race of living creatures.

Living creatures that can now capture images of those motes. Even if they are fuzzy.


That’s how long it took the Hubble Space Telescope — pointed towards “absolutely nothing” — to capture the 10,000 galaxies visible in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image:

via gizmodo


The BBC goes behind the scenes of Brian Eno’s 77 Million Paintings project as it was projected on the surface of the Sydney Opera House:

There is also a profile of the project, with some technical details about how it was put together, on Apple’s website:

“77 Million Paintings” continues to evolve. “We’ve been discussing the idea of using natural selection in the next project,” says Taylor. “When users see a combination of images they like, they’ll be able to hit a button and the computer will remember it. Likewise, the user will be able to kill certain combinations. At the end of a very long period of time, you’ll have a handful of images that have survived the selection process. Then the program will stop. Everyone’s choices will be different.”