In his book The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb discusses the following question with Umberto Eco, who happens to possess a rather significant, personal library.
- Is the value of a library in the books you've read or in the books you have not read?
Most people are disappointed to learn that Eco hasn't read most of the books it contains. Eco feels precisely the opposite. To him, the value of the library lies in the unread books--the books yet to be discovered.
Which is why he continues adding to his collection. So to Eco (and Taleb), the library's value lies in its undiscovered volumes, which echo's Shakespeare's line about the "undiscovered country."
But others answer the question differently...
This looks very interesting. Plan to summarize...As I read it, I'm not sure it can be summarized. His words confuse me, which I think is by design, given Lesson #1...As I read more I realize this is a devastating indictment of the school system. How brave.
The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher
by John Taylor Gatto
1991 New York State Teacher of the Year
Call me Mr. Gatto, please. Twenty-six years ago, having nothing better to do at the time, I tried my hand at schoolteaching. The license I hold certifies that I am an instructor of English language and English literature, but that isn't what I do at all. -- and I win awards doing it.
Woman St. Peters Rome - Michael Ging - The more I looked at this photo of a woman in St. Peters, Rome, the more moved I felt. Michael Ging has created quite a stunning effect. Reminds me of photos by W. Eugene Smith. Had to share it here:
Watched Tristan and Isolde recently, and have to say I was disappointed. It's such an important and seminal story in literature, I really hoped for a wonderful treatment from producers Ridley and Tony Scott. But with Kevin Reynolds directing, it turned out a bit too much like Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves (another Reynolds film).
Sophia Myles was wonderful, but I wasn't much impressed with the portrayal by James Franco. He was great in the fight scenes, but the rest of his performance seemed rather one dimensionally sullen. In short...
Here's an excellent reality check for those thinking about enlisting in the military. Among the lessons you'll learn:
Recruitment Contracts Are UNILATERAL
Which means you, the recruit, are legally bound and obligated to fulfill the terms of the contract.
HOWEVER, the government is NOT.
In fact, the government can CHANGE the terms of the contract as they desire, and they routinely do.
Why Organic Milk Lasts Longer than Regular Milk - The difference lies NOT in the source of the milk but in how it's processed.
LTLT Pasteurization - The pasteurization process commonly used with regular milk is called "low temperature, long time" (LTLT) pasteurization, which heats the milk to 145 degree F for at least 30 minutes. The temperatures used in LTLT pasteurization do NOT kill all the bacteria in the milk, but do kill enough to keep it safe for a week or so.
UHT Pasteurization - The pasteurization process commonly used with organic milk is called ultrahigh-temperature pasteurization (UHT) and heats the milk to 280 degrees F for 2-4 seconds. UHT pasteurization kills all bacteria in the milk.
Why not use UHT for Regular Milk? Besides killing all bacteria, UHT pasteurization destroys some of milk's vitamins (a small amount) and alters some proteins in the milk so that it cannot be used for making cheese.
There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation. It's a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die.
~ Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80s (1988)
So very sad...
I absolutely LOVE the Discovery Channel's MythBusters show. I get such vicarious pleasure out of watching Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman abuse each other (and their staff) in figuring out inventive ways to test both well-known and "lost" myths. Speaking of lost myths, Discovery Channel has released some clips of MythBuster's Lost Experiments.
Here's a summary of each experiment or clip, which should help you decide which clips are worth watching...
8 Bad Words - Found this video by Trevor Crook kinda informative and funny--not George Carlin funny by any means, however...
Jason Salavon created a photo of the Average Playboy Playmate. As Salavon describes:
Unfortunately, the resulting image IS safe for work...
Lord of War - What a bizarre film. Lord of War tells the story of an arms dealer, played by Nicolas Cage, whose business begins modestly with the sale of a single Uzi. Then comes the fortuitous fall of the Soviet Union and his business opportunities quickly expand. The film makers claim the situations depicted in the film were inspired by actual events. Indeed, a follow up documentary included on the DVD contains interviews with think-tank types and NGO administrators that claim as much. But I found this film perplexing.
Creative Attitude - Found these suggestions about becoming more creative in blog post: 9 Attitudes of Highly Creative People. I distilled the original list of nine tips into seven. Not terribly profound, but good reminders.
- 1. Curiosity
- Learning to ask ‘why’, ‘what if’ and ‘I wonder…’ are great questions t build into your life if you want to be a more creative person.
- 2. See Problems as Interesting and Acceptable
- Instead of seeing problems as obstacles and unacceptable, see problems as natural, normal and fascination.
Diabetes cure may be in the nerves - During an experiment, researchers injected capsaicin (the substance that makes chili peppers taste hot) into the pancreas of type I diabetic mice. The capsiacin killed the sensory nerves in the pancreas. Oddly, by killing the nerves with capsaicin, the mice appeared to be cured of type I diabetes.
Researchers wondered if they could get the same effect without killing the nerve cells. After some looking, they identified a neuropeptide that was in low quantities or missing from the pancreas of type I diabetic mice. Oddly, when they injected the neuropeptide ("substance P") into the pancreas of diabetic mice, the mice again appeared cured of type I diabetes...for about four weeks, and then another injection was needed. So it appears that the pancreas of type I diabetic mice were not producing enough "substance P" and the sensory nerve cells were somehow involved.
Clever Shopping Bags - Wonderful series of photos illustrate how good shopping bag design can get your attention. Here is my favorite...
His name is Rufus and he's a beauty contest winner. Rufus has won the 130th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Feist - I'm loving what I'm hearing...and seeing from this Canadian Leslie Feist. This girl's got depth. The more I learn about her, the more I hear her music, the more I like her.
Below is the video for her 1,2,3,4 hit, which I first heard on an Apple Nano video Ipod commercial. Yuck! But it's okay. She gained another fan.
How to Import Large MySQL Data Files
One Step: Use BigDump
I've been so frustrated at the file size limits for uploading large MySQL data files, and BigDump is the answer. Works like a charm.
More details below...
Tricking Your Body? - I found this Men's Health article a bit misleading, if not silly...But it had some interesting kernels.
1. If your throat tickles, scratch your ear.
"When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm," says Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose, and throat specialty center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. "This spasm relieves the tickle."
2. Use right ear for conversation and left ear for music.
Can't hear what's being said. Researchers at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine say you should lean in with your RIGHT ear, which recognizes speech better.
On the other hand, if you are trying to identify a piece of music, lean in with your LEFT ear. The left ear is better at sensing (recognizing?) music tones.
3. Need to pee but no toilet nearby? Think about sex.