An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for January 30, 2019
- “‘Friendly’ Satan statue causes anger in Segovia, Spain” — Francesca Street, CNN [HT curiosa]
“How would you feel if you spotted a horned figure perching near a bridge, cell phone in hand, snapping a selfie?”
- “Proper Breathing Brings Better Health. Stress reduction, insomnia prevention, emotion control, improved attention—certain breathing techniques can make life better. But where do you start?” — Christophe André, Scientific American [HT Shashi Tharoor]
“Recommendations for how to modulate breathing and influence health and mind appeared centuries ago as well. Pranayama (“breath retention”) yoga was the first doctrine to build a theory around respiratory control, holding that controlled breathing was a way to increase longevity.
Follow Your Breath*
Simply observe your respiratory movements: be aware of each inhalation and exhalation. Focus on the sensations you feel as air passes through your nose and throat or on the movements of your chest and belly. When you feel your thoughts drift (which is natural), redirect your attention to your breath.
Breathe in and out slowly through one nostril, holding the other one closed using your finger; then reverse and continue by alternating regularly. There are many variations of this exercise—for example, inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the other. Research suggests that what is most important, aside from slowing the breathing rhythm, is breathing through the nose, which is somewhat more soothing than breathing through your mouth.
*Technique validated by clinical studies.”
- Lawrence Lessig quoted in “How the Re-Opening of the Public Domain ‘Has Allowed Us to Have Our Culture Back’” — Emily Wilson, Hyperallergic
“‘It’s wonderful to be here today to celebrate the gift that the law has allowed us to have our culture back’
‘The forces of greed and reaction and selfishness will never be abolished, but we need to live as though it were the first days of another world.'”
- “Dali Lives: Museum Brings Artist Back to Life With AI. Avant-garde Experience Announced on the 30th Anniversary of Dali’s Death.” — The Dali Museum [also]
“Visitors to the Museum will soon have the opportunity to learn more about Dali’s life and work from the person who knew him best: the artist himself. Using an artificial intelligence (AI)-based cutting edge technique, the new “Dali Lives” experience employs machine learning to create a version of Dali’s likeness, resulting in an uncanny resurrection of the mustached master. When the experience opens, visitors will for the first time be able to interact with an engaging lifelike Salvador Dali on a series of screens throughout the Museum.”
- “On Prayer Beads, Devotions to Gabriel, and a New Way of Doing Just That” — polyphanes, The Digital Ambler
“I like the convenience, customizability, and attractiveness of prayer beads. They’re useful, they’re tangible, they let the body focus on one thing and allow the mind to focus on another in a semi-autonomous way.”
- “Intent and Procedure” — Scott Stenwick, Augoeides
“You need an intent to know what to do with magick in the first place, and to focus your operation. You need a procedure to get the best results because that’s the whole point of technique and everything that goes with it. On top of that, you need an approach that is as scientific as you can make it under the limitations imposed by magick so you can debug both your intention and your procedures.”
- “Mutually Assured Salvation” — George Monbiot
“Perhaps it’s not the whole answer to our many troubles. But it looks to me like a bright light in a darkening world.”
- Egbert of Liège quoted in “Meeting Our Students Where They Are” — Jeffrey Cohen, In the Middle
“Scholarly effort is in decline everywhere as never before. Indeed, cleverness is shunned at home and abroad. What does reading offer to pupils except tears?”
- “Symbolism on Monuments” — Church Monuments Society [HT Steve]
“Carvings on tombs can be strange and puzzling. This guide explains the meanings of many of the symbols used on post-medieval gravestones.
Whereas some people in the 17th and 18th centuries had little education, they were certainly well grounded in the scriptures and the catechism. Village schools had been set up from the times of the Reformation, so there were many people from humble homes who could read and knew the scriptures. The emblems of mortality and immortality were seldom used after the 18th century, but many other forms of symbolism were the stock-in-trade of 19th century monumental masons.”
- “Newton and the perils of the imagination” — Rob Iliffe, OUPBlog; about his book Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton [HT OUPReligion]
“Newton argued that they had in fact actively encouraged their own carnal imaginations; … the techniques they deployed to tame their own imaginations could only end in defeat, and their extreme and unnatural mental and corporeal regimens inevitably inflamed the imagination, leading inexorably to the lustful thoughts they professed to despise. In a very short time, monks trained in these practices and driven mad by both day and night-time visions of naked women, formed religious communities that were, Newton concluded, cesspits of fornication.
To Newton, the imagination was always liable to tempt the unwary into idolatry, idleness, and lust. The only way to avoid its baneful effects was to be relentlessly active, focusing on useful, rational, and godly endeavours such as mathematics, natural philosophy, and theology.
The dangerous consequences were not limited to the impact on the individual. Since the listless and undisciplined scientific mind was prone to produce a slew of systems and hypotheses that were merely the seductive products of human ingenuity, the whole scientific community would then be beset by the anarchy of mere opinion.”