Haeckel’s Radiolaria

“Haeckel was evidently just as fascinated with the protozoa, enough to write and illustrate a substantial monograph. Die Radiolarien (Rhizopoda radiaria): Eine Monographie (1862) is available at the Biodiversity Heritage Library and the Internet Archive in a mammoth four-volume set, a large portion of which is explanatory text. There’s also a separate volume with a selection of the plates alone which is easier to browse. These drawings show much more variety than the Kunstformen plates which represent the examples that Haeckel considered most visually appealing; they also show us how much Haeckel tailored his renderings for Kunstformen, favouring symmetry and harmony over natural imperfections. Oscar Wilde would have approved of Haeckel’s adjustments, as he writes in The Decay of Lying: “My own experience is that the more we study Art, the less we care for Nature. What Art really reveals to us is Nature’s lack of design, her curious crudities, her extraordinary monotony, her absolutely unfinished condition. Nature has good intentions, of course, but, as Aristotle once said, she cannot carry them out.”

-John Coulthart, “Haeckel’s Radiolaria.” { feuilleton }. February 14, 2020.

I found many of these plates striking.

Online Mexican Cookbooks

“…UTSA’s Mexican cookbook collection [is] the largest-known trove of Mexican and Mexican-American cookbooks in North America. It started with a donation of nearly 550 books from San Antonio resident Laurie Gruenbeck in 2001, amassed during her decades of travel throughout Mexico. It now has more than 2,000 books, including some of renowned chef and scholar Diana Kennedy’s rarest books, as well as her personal papers. It has the oldest cookbooks published in Mexico (from 1831), elaborate vegetarian cookbooks from 1915 and 1920, corporate and community cookbooks, and much more.”

-Nils Bernstein, “Generations of Handwritten Mexican Cookbooks Are Now Online.” AtlasObscura.com. February 10, 2020.

Double or Nothing

“I often like to think in terms of these three options when I have a big decision to make.

I can call. I can maintain the status quo and keep my energy investment the same as before. I can raise. I can escalate the situation and put more energy into it. Or I can fold by exiting the situation…

…Most of the time you should be thinking: raise or fold. This is because when a choice seems difficult, it’s usually because the best option is to raise or fold, and you’re not sure which is best.

So if you find yourself at a crossroads, consider that you may really have just two viable options: raise or fold. Go big or go home…

When you’ve decided that it’s time to fold, you may have a tendency to keep asking yourself, But if I fold this hand, then what will I have left? If I fold my job, how will I pay my bills? If I fold my relationship, then who will love me again?

And the answer is simple. Just get back into the game, and you’ll be dealt a fresh hand. A fresh hand brings fresh hope. A weak hand doesn’t.”

-Steve Pavlina, “Call, Raise or Fold.” StevePavlina.com. January 30, 2020.

The Space Resource Report: 2020

China dominates. Asteroid mining dies but attends its own funeral. Reusable rockets lower the cost and increase access to space. The Moon, Mars, and asteroids all get new survey maps for water resources. Water-based thrusters perform well in orbit. Asteroids are blasted and samples collected. Space mining gets more legal scaffolding. The Moon gets one new rover and two new craters.

The aim of this document is to highlight the major developments surrounding space resources in 2019, with an eye towards following these developments through 2020 and beyond. Let’s get down to the science, business, policy, and real technology developments that will invigorate humanity’s expansion into space.

-David Rich, Joshua Schertz and Adam Hugo, “The Space Resource Report: 2020.” spaceresource.com. Janurary 24, 2020.

Fairly comprehensive overview. Worth checking out if you have any interest in this topic.

Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams

“I always want to say to people who want to be rich and famous: ‘try being rich first.’ See if that doesn’t cover most of it. There’s not much downside to being rich, other than paying taxes and having your relatives ask you for money. But when you become famous, you end up with a 24-hour job…”

-Bill Murray quoted in Tim Ferris, “11 Reasons Not to Become Famous (or “A Few Lessons Learned Since 2007”)“. tim.blog. February 2, 2020.

Lest you think suddenly becoming rich is going to “cover most of it”, try reading this Reddit chestnut, “You just won a 656 Million Dollar Lottery. What do you do now?” Still want to be rich?

The same applies to power. People tend to be preoccupied with attaining fame, riches or power. All of them are soul destroying if you achieve them in any significant measure.

Russell Conjugation

“Sentence 1: I am firm.

Sentence 2: You are obstinate.

Sentence 3: He/She/It is pigheaded.

-Bertrand Russell, quoted in David Perell, “News in the Age of Abundance.” Perell.com. February 4, 2020.

“Most people will have a positive emotion to the first sentence, a mild reaction to the second, and a negative reaction to the third. Likewise, writers can vary the meaning of their words by changing the length or structure of their sentences. Once their words are set in print, they can enhance their messaging with images that manipulate the reader’s emotions.”

ibid.

Many if not most people form their opinions based solely on whatever [Emotive] Conjugation is presented to them and not on the underlying facts.

Most words and phrases are actually defined not by a single dictionary description, but rather two distinct attributes:

 1. The factual content of the word or phrase.

2. The emotional content of the construction.

-Eric Weinstein, ibid.