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October 28, 2011

When Dickens met Dostoyevsky

From Michiko Katutani's review of two new Dickens biographies in the October 25, 2011 New York Times:

In a remarkable account of a meeting he had with Charles Dickens in 1862, Dostoyevsky recalled that the British novelist told him: "All the good simple people in his novels, Little Nell, even the holy simpletons like Barnaby Rudge, are what he wanted to have been, and his villains were what he was (or rather, what he found in himself), his cruelty, his attacks of causeless enmity toward those who were helpless and looked to him for comfort, his shrinking from those whom he ought to love, being used up in what he wrote. There were two people in him, he told me: one who feels as he ought to feel and one who feels the opposite. From the one who feels the opposite I make my evil characters, from the one who feels as a man ought to feel I try to live my life. 'Only two people?' I asked."

Dickens's fiction is filled with doubles and alternative outcomes: "Great Expectations" has two endings, one happy, one sad, while Scrooge is both given a glimpse of his lonely, miserable future and a chance to avoid this destiny by changing his miserly ways.

A clerk named Nemo in "Bleak House"... lives in a room "nearly black with soot, and grease, and dirt," eking out a meager existence copying legal documents — perhaps as Dickens would have done had he stayed in the legal profession he worked in as a teenager. David Copperfield, of course, is an alter ego — his initials are even those of the author's in reverse; and Dickens originally planned... to call the physical doubles in "A Tale of Two Cities" Charles Darney and Dick Carton.

So often, in Dickens novels, a simple twist of fate, a single impulsive choice can change the entire direction of the narrative... "Pause you," Pip says in "Great Expectations," "and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."

October 28, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Snowball Crossbow


"Load a snowball into the front, pull back the lever, aim, and fire at the target (provided) or your next victim. It can send snowballs up to 60 feet."


[via LikeCool, DVICE, OhGizmo!, Uncrate and Gizmodo]

October 28, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Early 19th century American child's cap

Screen Shot 2011-10-27 at 10.30.47 PM

"Not unlike the stylish bicycle helmets worn by today’s children, this is a beautifully made example of protective headwear worn by children in the early 19th century. Pudding caps or bumpers were padded hats commonly worn by small children learning to walk to protect their heads from any falls. It was thought that if children fell too frequently unprotected their brains would turn to a soft pudding-like consistency, hence the name 'pudding cap.' Children were often referred to as 'little pudding heads' because of this belief. A linen or muslin cap was commonly worn underneath. The quality of materials and craftsmanship used in this particular example suggests that this cap was owned by an affluent family."

Leather and silk.

In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

[via salmagundi]

October 28, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Garden Rug gives a whole new meaning to "grow your own"


From LikeCool:  "Pia Wustenberg's Garden Rug is made from a felt-like organic material and fosters the germination of mossy green plants inside."


Hmmm.... If I lay down on this right after running, a nice crop of mushrooms might not be far behind....

[via inspire me now and inhabitat]

October 28, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gray Cat's new favorite nap spot


A couple weeks ago I noticed she'd taken to dozing atop my "tower of [TV] power" — aka subwoofer + Blu-ray player + DirecTV box + Comcast cable box.

The way I'd stacked them, only about half the cable box was in front of the plane of the TV.

I asked my crack Gray Cat All-Access All-Amenities team to reconfigure the equipment so she'd have a more comfortable napping spot atop the toasty box, since as it was she could only fit her torso onto the box, resulting in all four paws sticking out over the sides and whatnot.

The resulting rearrangement (top) lets her wedge her little butt between the cable box and the bottom of the TV screen, with the base of the TV and one of the speakers providing support for her rear paws.



I find it wonderfully relaxing seeing her there, whether I'm across the room or on the couch watching TV.


October 28, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Fully Functional Halloween Camera Costume


That's different.

"Tyler Card made a wearable and fully functional camera costume for Halloween 2011. It's complete with an LCD display, built-in flash and shutter release button/wireless remote control. It is also capable of triggering Alienbees strobe lights with a Paul C. Buff Cyber Commander."

See how he did it here.

[via LikeCoolNerdcoreLaughing SquidPetaPixel and PopPhoto]


October 28, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Experts' Experts: How to navigate any city in the world


Note the orientation of satellite TV dishes. 

They will all point in the same direction.

In the U.K., for example, they all point close to directly southeast.

In the U.S., they face toward the south.


And so on and so forth.

Note that in the Southern Hemisphere they will point somewhere to the north.

Fes morocco

From the top down: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco.

[via BBC News and Richard Kashdan]

October 28, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This is Spinal Tape


25 meters long x 2 inches wide.


[via Paul Biba, Laughing Squid, Geekosystem and Incredible Things]

October 28, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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