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December 25, 2019

Cast paper sculpture by Allen and Patty Eckman


The husband-and-wife team have been creating their pieces since 1987 in their home studio in South Dakota.


Each piece can take up to 11 months to make, using a specially-formulated paper.


The artists put paper pulp into silicone molds and then pressurize it to remove the water.


The hard, lightweight pieces are then removed, and the couple painstakingly add detail using a wide range of tools.


Allen Eckman said, "I work on the men and animals, and Patty does the women and children."


The pieces range in scale from life-size to 1/6 life-size.


They begin as standing nude figures, or animals with limited details (no ears, hair or tail).


Detail is then created atop the initial objects, using soft and hard paper made by the artists in various thicknesses and textures.

December 25, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Egyptian Tortoise


Newly hatched as pictured above, they are about the size of a raspberry.

They are the smallest tortoises found in the Northern Hemisphere.

When fully grown, they will measure between 3 and 5 inches in length, with a lifespan of 70-100 years.

These tortoises are critically endangered in the wild, and their survival may depend on the efforts of zoos around the world.

In the wild they are found in Mediterranean coastal deserts of Egypt, Eastern Libya, and the western Negev in Israel.

Their numbers have rapidly declined since the 1960s because of the exotic pet trade and destruction of their habitat through development.

December 25, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments"


Perhaps you've heard it before.

It's the first sentence of Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare.

In the same way that a grain of sand can contain a world if regarded in the right light, so does the single word "admit" form an avenue of inquiry into the mind–body problem, issues of moral freedom, and much more, in the mind of one John Lye, professor of English at Brock University in Canada.

Here is what he wrote, excerpted from his essay "Contemporary Literary Theory," which appeared in the 1993 Brock Review.

Impediments: A Deconstruction-like Reading

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters where it alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove.
— William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

One might ask, does the word "admit" mean confess or allow to enter?

Is "impediment" a legal or a conceptual term here, or a term from the world of physical manipulation, a stumbling block (the literal meaning of impediment, something that gets in the way of pedes, the foot), an intervention?

While the word "impediment" as a moral or social hindrance is taken from the marriage ceremony, that explanation does not exhaust the meaning potential.

In contemporary usage impediment was also a physical defect or impairment, a speech defect, and baggage; its meanings must potentially (from L. potentia, power) include even as they differentiate from these possibilities.


And why, one wonders, are the worlds of criminality (admit) and of fault (impediment) immediately entered into the world of true minds ?

Why is it that, on the levels of both conceptualization and enunciation, the nice flow of the first line is suddenly interrupted by two tough latinate words which seem to come from discourse and areas of concern other than that of the world of the marriage of true minds?

The words not only need to be figured out, but actually enter worlds of opposition on several levels (criminality vs innocence, fault vs wholeness, social/legal vs moral/philosophical).

Hasn't the poem just admitted a number of impediments while saying it wasn't going to admit impediments?

There are impediments on the level of articulation (as the line stumbles over "admit impediments," and when it gets to "impediments," the line stops dead and has to start on another tack, "Love"), on the level of cognitive flow, on the level of moral reality, and also on the level of cogency -- for, after all, the world of the judicial ('confess', impediments , and also marriage, a legal act) has control over bodies and property, not over minds, and the poem has referred us to a marriage of minds .


The phrase itself the marriage of true minds implicitly admits an impediment.

This impediment is the body, which is admitted but denied by the word impediment with its root reference to stumbling feet but its usage in conceptual ways, and which is implied by "marriage."

The phrase "marriage of true minds" enters the whole question of the body by being explicit about the marriage of minds, whereas marriage itself is a union of bodies and property.

The body is also entered through the contemporary uses of the word impediment as a physical defect or impairment, as a speech defect, as baggage.

The body is admitted by marriage most strongly through the fact that marriage is a social act (sanctified by the Church, the Body of Christ, and only legal when witnessed by others, bodily presences), through the realm of the legal, the control of bodies, and through the legitimation of marriage, as a marriage which was not consummated, an interesting concept in itself, was considered not to be a marriage.


There is yet another impediment in the sentence.

The word "true" in reference to minds suggests of course straightness or levelness, body values, but it suggests by exclusion the unstraightness of mind that the true is structured against and includes by difference.

If the speaker has to say "true minds" then there are untrue minds, so we have to ask what the 'mind' is here that is being married, what the nature of mind is.

The word cannot refer to some abstract, non-physical value or being if mind can be unstraight, morally unsound, not on the level, therefore fallen, therefore (as fallen) in the world of action and conflict and thus of the body.

But "mind" is obviously opposed to the body, and the body is an impediment.

The sentence's play of meaning forces us inexorably back to the centrality of the body, and questions the status of mind .


There is another impediment that the poem admits from the very beginning: after all, who is to let or not let him admit impediments? (Startling enough, in Shakespeare's time a "let" was a hindrance, an impediment).

There is someone who can stop him from not admitting impediments, otherwise he would not have said "Let me not"; a world of power and restriction peeks forth, qualifying the apparent freedom the line claims.

As well, "Let me not," with its implicit emotional appeal, takes us back psychically to the world of restriction, prohibition, forbidding, in its colloquial force and its imperative, demanding tone, to the two-year old's universe, it is evocation therefore of narcissism, of the taboo, of the root conflict of social life and personal identity, and thus enters us into a world of meaning which itself on the surface sorts oddly with the social/legal language that follows.


There is in the sentence as a counter-current a narcissism, the juvenile self-aggrandizement of a speaker who thinks he could in fact stop the marriage of true minds.

But if anyone can stop the marriage of true minds, as obviously he believes that they can (or he can), then it is probably because the marriage of true minds does depend on the powers of property, the body, physical and social force, and so the line really does not in fact claim the power or liberty of the spiritual nature of humans, as an unsuspecting reading might assume, but claims instead the power of the physical and judicial.

This may well what the line really confesses or, to put it another way, the reality that the ideological structure masks: that the social, judicial, physical elements of our world do in fact have the force over a union of persons that the line denies that they do, and perhaps that in point of fact a person is comprised of these physical, social, legislative elements, these worlds of discourse, of the constitutive imaginary.

The case could be made that the idealism of the apparent meaning of the line, which depends on there being real, isolatable, inviolate minds is what is ultimately undermined.


Not only does this sentence launch us on a strange journey of oppositions and contradictions, but it enters us into whole worlds of discourse and concern -- the long philosophical debates about mind as opposed to the body, the place of the power of the judicial in the world of body and mind, the sociality of the individual, the nature of marriage and what it entails, the physicality of marriage both sexually and legally and the relation of that physicality to the moral world, issues of moral freedom, of issues of what constitutes the good.

These differing but implicated worlds, with their differing assumptions, language uses and emotional resonances--importantly including the poetic expressions of theses debates--become part of the meaning of the line.

December 25, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Google pulls the plug on my beloved Google Glass

Above, a Google Glass video from Christmas morning 2015.

Plenty more of my Glass videos here.

But I digress.

From Mashable:

One of the first high-profile wearables is finally about to kick the bucket, several years after a short rollercoaster ride atop the tech news cycle.

Google recently updated the support page for Google Glass Explorer Edition with information about the product's final update.

The patch will essentially divorce Google Glass from any of Google's backend services after February 25, 2020.

Once it's installed and that date rolls by, Glass users won't be able to log in with their Google accounts on the device.

After that, the old version of Glass will still work as a sort of husk of its former self.

It'll still connect to phones via Bluetooth, support sideloaded apps, and allow photos and videos to be taken with the camera.

But mirror apps such as Hangouts, YouTube, and Gmail won't work anymore, per Google's support page.

The MyGlass mobile app that allows users to manage device settings won't work after the update, either.

It should be noted that this only applies to Google Glass Explorer Edition, the consumer-grade version of Glass that Google launched in 2013.

The business-grade Enterprise Edition will still work normally for the foreseeable future.

This is basically Google cutting bait on a device it hasn't marketed or sold to the public for years.

Google made the (questionable, in hindsight) decision to launch Glass as a consumer product for $1,500 in 2013.

The world wasn't quite ready to see early adopters walking around with cameras on their faces, prompting widespread privacy concerns regarding the device.

Some restaurants and bars banned them entirely.

Eventually, Google scaled back the public-facing version of Glass and focused on enterprise solutions instead.

Google Glass Enterprise Edition launched in 2017 and got a sleek new edition earlier in 2019.

What is dead may never die.

From Google Support:

Screen Shot 2019-12-23 at 11.57.57 AM

I must admit that after studying Google's instructions for the final software update (above), which "removes the need and ability to use your Google account on Glass," I'm inclined to do nothing and see what happens after the aforementioned doomsday, February 25, 2020.

Who knows?

Maybe there'll be pushback strong enough for Google to leave well enough alone.

[via Crack San Francisco Correspondent®© Richard Kashdan]

December 25, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lourdes Sonic Head Spa Alilan Octopus Scalp Massager — "Cute design wellness device"


From the website:

The Lourdes Sonic Head Spa Alilan Octopus Scalp Massager resembles a mini-octopus that sits on your head, its ten "tentacles" providing stimulation to your scalp.


All you need do is put it on your head and push up and down.


You can vary the modes and patterns of vibration, each lasting three minutes.


And since this is a Japanese beauty and wellness device, it's also super cute.


Available in pink or black color, the "octopus" even comes with stickers so you can decorate it.


Features and Details:

• Waterproof

• Weight: 8.8 oz.

• 7.9" x 5.7" x 5.7"

• Instructions: Japanese

• Two modes: 40-100Hz, 3 minutes

• Battery life: approximately 60 minutes

• Requires 3 AAA batteries (not included)



December 25, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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