But, hey, this kind of thing’s going on in libraries everywhere, you know. More or less, that is.
Haruki Murakami, The Strange Library
But, hey, this kind of thing’s going on in libraries everywhere, you know. More or less, that is.
Haruki Murakami, The Strange Library
And yet these lessons will prove fruitless. Human libraries, the monster will learn, contain for him only alien literature.
Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 25th, 2014
The Mark of the Devil by William Mortensen at The Grotesque Eroticism of William Mortensen’s Lost Photography — Larry Lytle, VICE
Here are some top gatherum posts from the BBS this week:
“When one contemplates the marvel of sculptured sound on a graphophonic record, and realizes that from the cold vorticity of line there may magically spring the golden lilt of the greatest song voice that the world has ever heard, then comes the conviction that we are living in the days of white magic.”
“In 1945, workers at Brown University’s biology department were clearing out storage space when they stumbled on a giant trove of natural and ethnographic specimens and artifacts. The collection had belonged to the Jenks Museum of Natural History and Anthropology, founded at the school in 1871 and dismantled in 1915 to make way for new classrooms. Inexplicably, the workers drove 92 truckloads worth of the carefully curated objects to the banks of the Seekonk River, where they unloaded them into a common dump.
Now, the collection has been resurrected from that mire by “The Jenks Society for Lost Museums” — a group of students and professors from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design — with the help of artist Mark Dion. Like previous attempts to reimagine destroyed museums, their three collaborative installations, on view at Rhode Island Hall, recreates parts of the museum while challenging assumptions about permanence in museum work.”
“Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of him—he was written into a footnote by the “straight photography” school of the 1950s, and referred to as “the Antichrist” by Ansel Adams, a tag that stuck after Anton LaVey dedicated The Satanic Bible to him. Primarily known as a Hollywood portrait artist, he developed a myriad of pre-Photoshop special effects to craft grotesque, erotic, and mystical images. This fall, Feral House will release [American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen], a monograph on his occult photography.”
“Contrary to the Cardinal’s statement, Vodou is not Haiti’s problem; Christianity is. No push to spread Vodou ever wiped out entire “savage” indigenous peoples. Vodou has caused no wars due to a desire to convert as many people as possible. Vodou doesn’t tell “saved souls” that they must be complacent, accepting their lot on Earth for the potential of future salvation in heaven. Vodou never told Black people they were a curse or 3/5ths of a person.
Vodou is of the belief system that sustained our ancestors across the Middle Passage, during the brutality of the plantation, and through the victories of slave rebellions. Haiti should never apologize for it.
Christianity and the West’s real problem with Vodou is that, like the Maroons who practiced it, it remains elusive to those who would aim to profit off of it, package it, and control it.”
“A treasure trove of Winfield history was recently discovered in the dilapidated two-story building at 1307 Main, just north of the Dawson Monument Company.
Realtors Jeff Albright and Jeff Everhart found a trunk upstairs full of records and memorabilia from the former black Masonic lodge here. They also found the lodge’s gavel.”
“In its heyday, the Winfield lodge hosted a gathering of individual chapters of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Kansas, the organization of black Masonic lodges in the state. The event took place Aug. 20-21, 1917. An estimated 200 Masons attended from around the state.”
“With roots going back to the medieval guilds of stonemasons, Freemasonry is the oldest initiatory society in the West not dependant on a religious institution. Having lodges in virtually every major city in most parts of the world, it has changed from an originally British institution to a worldwide phenomenon with a wide range of local idiosyncratic features and characteristics. Numbering millions of active members it is also the largest fraternal organization in the world, still managing to attract new members in the postmodern society of the twenty-first century. The continued presence and development of Freemasonry with its rich diversity in practices and interpretations, raises the question what it is that makes such an old phenomenon seem relevant to so many diverse people for over three hundred years? There is no single answer to the question, but part of it surely rests on the fact that despite its emphasis on tradition, transmission and authority, Freemasonry has always been a non-dogmatic organisation in the sense that its rituals, symbols and practices have not had official and final interpretations. On the contrary, Freemasonry is characterised by a striking diversity of interpretation—it is thus possible to find purely moral interpretations of its central symbols, but also scientific, psychological, esoteric, political, philosophical, religious etc. interpretations of the same symbols—a fact that will become more than apparent by reading the various chapters of this handbook.”
“He described a data set he was putting together that defined textual cross references found in the Bible. He had already done considerable work visualizing the data before contacting me. Together, we struggled to find an elegant solution to render the data, more than 63,000 cross references in total. As work progressed, it became clear that an interactive visualization would be needed to properly explore the data, where users could zoom in and prune down the information to manageable levels. Together, we struggled to find an elegant solution to render the data, more than 63,000 cross references in total. As work progressed, it became clear that an interactive visualization would be needed to properly explore the data, where users could zoom in and prune down the information to manageable levels. However, this was less interesting to us, as several Bible-exploration programs existed that offered similar functionality (and much more). Instead we set our sights on the other end of the spectrum – something more beautiful than functional. At the same time, we wanted something that honored and revealed the complexity of the data at every level – as one leans in, smaller details should become visible. This ultimately led us to the multi-colored arc diagram you see below.”
“Now, computer programmer Daniel G. Taylor has taken all that data and turned it into a visual masterpiece.
His website, BibViz (Bible Visualization), gives you the same linking arcs as before, but when you hover over one of them, it lights up and tells you in the upper right-hand corner of the screen which verses are being linked together. Click on an arc and it takes you directly to those verses as compiled in the Skeptics Annotated Bible:”
“This thesis compares and contrasts what could be considered two psycho-spiritual traditions: analytical psychology and the Western Esoteric Tradition. A common link between these two traditions is the use of symbols and metaphors of wholeness, specifically the sefirot of the Western Esoteric Tree of Life.”
“Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.”
“Baleen and sperm whales act like ecosystem engineers in the global ocean, according to a new study from the University of Vermont. Whales help maintain the global ecological balance due, in part, to the release of vast quantities of feces.
A new study examined decades of research on the marine mammals and their role in maintaining the balance of life in oceans.”
“We both agree that science is at present limited by assumptions that restrict enquiry, and we agree that there are major unsolved problems about consciousness, cosmology and other areas of science… I am proposing testable hypotheses that could take us forward and open up new frontiers of scientific enquiry.”
“What astounds me is how ignorance has played into turning Aleister Crowley into a myth instead of a historical figure. Instead of being known as a educated man who was a freethinker that went against the norm he goes down as a Satanist […] This is due to how close-minded the masses are now and how they were then. That is why this bio-pic is so brilliant and powerful. It sheds light on one of the most misunderstood figures in history.”
“Disregard the angry clamour of the lying masses; avoid the uninitiated mob, and you will know happiness and the truth that is revealed to few.”
“It is not the goal of the library to make money. Nor is it the goal of the library to create levels of service so that those who can afford to indulge will receive more while those who can’t, don’t. Instead, libraries work to ensure their services reach as many facets of their community as possible. Libraries want to offer what they can to those who have nothing and those who maybe have everything.
The library is the center and the heart of community.”
If you’d like to participate in the Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.
An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together …
A volvelle, with tattwa tides and astrological aspects, made by a Whare Ra temple member [via]
“Now, a study claims neutron emissions from an ancient earthquake that rocked Jerusalem could have created the iconic image, as well as messed up the radiocarbon levels that later suggested the shroud was a medieval forgery. But other scientists say this newly proposed premise leaves some major questions unanswered.”
“Jesus also affirms the homosexual relationship between the Roman Centurion and his ‘slave’. The particular Greek word used to refer to this special slave was ‘pais’. Greek language studies and contexts show that a ‘pais’ was a male love slave. Regular slaves were called ‘dolos’. The Centurion makes this distinction clearly when he asks Jesus to heal his slave (pais), and then to prove his status he tells Jesus that his slaves (dolos) go when he tells them to. But this slave (pais) was special. He was the Centurion’s lover.
Hearing this, Jesus was so amazed he says he had not found ANYONE ELSE who had such great faith. He then blesses the Centurion and heals his male lover.”
“Luke and I were looking at Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights and discovered, much to our amusement, music written upon the posterior of one of the many tortured denizens … I decided to transcribe it”
“Democracy loses its character as a disruptive element, a force of dissent, an insurrectional call for responsible change, and degenerates into an assault on the radical imagination, reconfigures itself as a force for bleaching all ethical and moral considerations, and thrives in a state of exception, which in reality is a state of permanent war.”
“He says that those people who passionately believe that a disarmed populace under tyrannical rule is a problem have a well-taken point. But that notion, ‘still comes from a consciousness platform of fear,’ he says. ‘And if that is the focus of your life, you’re missing out on a great deal. It’s not that there’s nothing to be afraid of, but if that’s going to be the primary focus of your life, you’ve already surrendered. And if fear is the reason you want to arm yourself, you’re probably the last person who needs to be armed for all of our safety.'”
“Was the Christian God cool with slavery? Slave owners sure thought so — and had plenty of Biblical canon to support it. Abolitionists disagreed. Did God want women to vote? Not according to anti-suffragists. Suffragists were convinced otherwise. If society continues this descent into level-headed compassion, fifty years from now people will be claiming that God is pro-fur and factory farming. When one cannot defend a belief in the current context, moving the framework back a few thousand years and putting the blame on God is a pretty good fallback strategy.
I know, I know. There’s only one God and he is not at all ambiguous: he agrees with you. It’s all right there in the Bible or whatever holy book you believe in, as you have decided to interpret it. It’s perfectly clear, right?”
“The archaeologists, Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the earliest known domesticated camels in Israel to the last third of the 10th century B.C. — centuries after the patriarchs lived and decades after the kingdom of David, according to the Bible. Some bones in deeper sediments, they said, probably belonged to wild camels that people hunted for their meat. Dr. Sapir-Hen could identify a domesticated animal by signs in leg bones that it had carried heavy loads.”
“In short, while materialism encourages that characteristically modern form of political collectivism in which sacrifices that bring about the greater good are taken to be morally imperative, at the same time it leads to a world of individuals who have a sense of their own absolute uniqueness and importance—if only to themselves. The attempt to find a standpoint that can integrate this radical individualism with the claims of the common good is the great underlying ethical and political problem of modern life. It also gives a framing perspective to Ronald Dworkin’s marvelous little book, Religion without God, and helps explain how a brilliant young lawyer like Dworkin should have ended up pondering issues of theology.”
“And in the past few years, we have seen pro-life Christian groups successfully lobby State legislatures to restrict access to abortions. They have also raised religious, not public policy, objections to the government funding birth control.
But here’s the alarming thing: These views are no longer the fringe of American politics. They are increasingly becoming mainstream conservative fare.”
“Where Coots is different is that he was just following the Bible as he interpreted it. Coots was just reading the Bible literally. It’s something that many Americans do on a daily basis. But God’s Holy Word is more dangerous than you’d think.”
“I like myths. I put a lot of credence in them.”
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
“I am not so sure. But I know I won. Every word I wrote is burned into me, flesh and blood and breath. By throwing them away, I made them even more mine, something nobody could take away even if they killed me, secrets hidden inside me, in the only places I had left.
Now I write other stories. Between the bars, I catch glimpses of those things. Exorcism is an ongoing process.”
“Divinity reveals herself in all things. Everything has Divinity latent within itself. For she enfolds and imparts herself even unto the smallest beings, and from the smallest beings, according to their capacity. Without her presence nothing would have being, because she is the essence of the existence of the first unto the last being.”
“The work of the Greek polymath Plato has kept millions of people busy for millennia. A few among them have been mathematicians who have obsessed about Platonic solids, a class of geometric forms that are highly regular and are commonly found in nature.
Since Plato’s work, two other classes of equilateral convex polyhedra, as the collective of these shapes are called, have been found: Archimedean solids (including truncated icosahedron) and Kepler solids (including rhombic polyhedra). Nearly 400 years after the last class was described, researchers claim that they may have now invented a new, fourth class, which they call Goldberg polyhedra. Also, they believe that their rules show that an infinite number of such classes could exist.”
“If no human can check a proof of a theorem, does it really count as mathematics? That’s the intriguing question raised by the latest computer-assisted proof. It is as large as the entire content of Wikipedia, making it unlikely that will ever be checked by a human being.
‘It might be that somehow we have hit statements which are essentially non-human mathematics,’ says Alexei Lisitsa of the University of Liverpool, UK, who came up with the proof together with colleague Boris Konev.”
“A set of mathematical laws that I call the Improbability Principle tells us that we should not be surprised by coincidences. In fact, we should expect coincidences to happen. One of the key strands of the principle is the law of truly large numbers. This law says that given enough opportunities, we should expect a specified event to happen, no matter how unlikely it may be at each opportunity. Sometimes, though, when there are really many opportunities, it can look as if there are only relatively few. This misperception leads us to grossly underestimate the probability of an event: we think something is incredibly unlikely, when it’s actually very likely, perhaps almost certain.”
“Throughout history, anatomical illustrations have been made using the recently deceased as models, and many of Leonardo’s sketches were no exception. Ashrafian says that the man who served as Leonardo’s model for his illustration of human perfection probably had a hernia. If the model was a corpse, the hernia may have been what killed him. If he was a live model, he may ultimately have died from its complications.”
“The MU Libraries have more than 3 million books in their collections, and they ran out of space to store those books years ago.
Recently it was discovered that 600,000 books, approximately 20 percent of MU’s entire collection, were covered in mold. The damaged books were being stored in an underground cavern north of Interstate 70. The cavern, Sub Terra, is run by an independent company.
The books in storage were lesser-used books that the libraries did not have room for in their open stacks. Some of the stored texts were published prior to the Civil War.
Library administrators will not be able to save all 600,000 texts because there is not enough money in library funds to do so.”
“Back in 2012, when Canada’s Harper government announced that it would close down national archive sites around the country, they promised that anything that was discarded or sold would be digitized first. But only an insignificant fraction of the archives got scanned, and much of it was simply sent to landfill or burned.”
“We should always fear the fate of our libraries, historically proven and currently demonstrated”
“It’s no great secret that the world of publishing is changing. What is a secret is how much.”
“Microscopic investigations on the world famous statuette from the Gravettian period (30,000 to 22,000 years ago) carried out at the Natural History Museum in Vienna revealed three incredible insights, and when taken together tell a secret story of this Palaeolithic figurine and her creators.
· The limestone from which the 11cm high Venus had been carved, comes almost certainly from the region around the Moravian city of Brno 136km to the northeast of Willendorf.
· The source of the flint blades discovered with the figure was North Moravia, a further 150km to the north.
· The Venus had once been completely painted with red ochre, and given the ritualistic associations of this material meant that the figure was more than likely a cultic object.”
“Old Man and Old Woman settled their ancient bones back into the remnants of creatures native to their wild domain, no doubt having missed their shrine and the once regular offerings to be found there. The Moon’s candle was restored to its place above breasts and belly carved from stone, surrounded by offerings. She eats beeswax greedily like blood offerings, leaving nothing behind. A candle lit to welcome the spirits back with sweetest incense burned and fresh water poured to sate their hunger. The spirits sigh happily, the new house sighs like a person with a once empty belly filled. Even breathing feels easier now with the altar and all its spirits in their proper place of reverence.”
“At last love has come. I would be more ashamed
to hide it in cloth than leave it naked.
I prayed to the Muse and won. Venus dropped him
in my arms, doing for me what she
had promised. Let my joy be told, let those
who have none tell it in a story.
Personally, I would never send off words
in sealed tablets for none to read.
I delight in sinning and hate to compose a mask
for gossip. We met. We are both worthy.”
“Happy Lupercalia! Blessed Full Moon! (If you see half naked boys running w goatskin whips, you may wish to stay out of their way. Or not.)”
“It is necessary to DARE what must be attempted.”
“The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).
It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet.”
“disagree, awful poster… delete”
“If you’re going to cover your eyes and plug your ears, at least have the courtesy and self-awareness to also shut your mouth.”
The Hermetic Library Tumblr gets a gander by Frank the Sheep (any relation to Frank the Goat?), a library science student, as part of their final project over at “The Hermetic Library“. The final project, apparently for LIBR 500: Foundations of Information Technology coursework, specifically looks at library engagements in social networks, but focused specifically on libraries as they engage others through Tumblr.
“For library tumblrs therefore I will be evaluating how the library uses the platform, how it fits with the overall mission of the library, whether the tumblr is still functioning, and if anyone is following it as a way of measuring of how successful it is/was.”
The evaluation of the Hermetic Library tumblog specifically, observes:
“Fitting clearly with the library’s over-all focus are numerous images and quotes with esoteric and pagan themes. Notably, in contrast with other library tumblrs, the majority of the posts are in fact re-postings, with clear links to the original poster. This takes advantage of tumblr’s ability to be a curator of multiple sources of information, so that people interested in the themes that the Hermetic Library specializes in can follow those interests from a large selection of sources, choosing who’s work they may want to follow back to see more of the same artist, text, or website — but leaving the effort of finding and selecting the material up to the tumblr administrator. There are an enormous amount of material in the past few months, but in the beginnings (Sept 2009), the tumblr relied much more on the library’s own material and updated every few days only. This tumblr follows the lead of several design and art tumblrs I’ve seen that post several images a day without commentary. It is up to the follower to pick and choose which images grab them the most out of the collection.”
Actually, my recollection is that I created an account with Tumblr in March 2011, and experimented with it briefly, then left it to languish until October 2011 when I began to use it in earnest. Posts prior to March 2011 are actually retroactively added, as I’ve been working through the old posts from Facebook which start in Sept 2009, when I took over the site, and have been adding them to the archives on the blog. As I add older posts to the archives of the blog, I sometimes select to also post them to the Tumblr to enlarge the archive there and also again to Facebook for the nostalgia. So, while the frequency definitely has changed and also fluctuated over time, and will continue to do so, the marked drop-off in frequency at Oct 2011 and March 2011 are artefacts.
It’s been interesting to decide how and where and in what way to engage in social networks. I actually started with Facebook, Twitter and Delicious when I took over. I never utilized the Delicious feed, and in fact stopped using Delicious for my personal bookmarking also, so took mention of Delicious off the site. Originally, I was posting first to Facebook and had that automatically reposted to Twitter. Several changes later, I currently post primarily to the self-hosted WordPress blog for the library which then feeds to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and elsewhere. I do also occasionally post directly to Facebook, but my primary direct engagement with people is through Twitter. I also take advantage of the peculiar nature of Tumblr and re-blog quite a few images and quotes, which re-blogs are then re-posted to Facebook. This points out something very specific, and that also explains a bit of the change in the Tumblr presence between March 2011 and Oct 2011: I try to figure out the way that people are engaging in a specific social network and then whether I can include that in my workflow for the Hermetic Library. I actually have a number of other social network accounts which I don’t use because I don’t yet have a purpose for them that fits with what I want to do, in both form and function, or that I just don’t engage with those specific networks otherwise. For example, Google+ just doen’t fit in with my workflow at all, not personally nor for Hermetic Library, so I don’t post there; if it ever does then I’d use it, but I won’t force myself to use it or go out of my way to engage there. Another example is, say, Pinterest, where I created an account recently, but haven’t used because I have not figured out how or if it fits in with my overall purpose of engaging people around the materials and subject matter of the Hermetic Library. In other words, I have avoided engagements in social networks that don’t fit what I’m trying to do, and have focused on creating a presence within the prevailing custom of those in which I do engage.
Another interesting lesson for me, which I learned for myself from the way I engage on my personal blog, is that the frequency, quality and quantity of posting will fluctuate, and to be okay with that. Things change. The way I engage in any particular social network, both personally and as part of the mission of the Hermetic Library, will change over time. I’m okay with that and actually I think that’s completely natural, as forcing some artificial and immutable standard of schedule or form would actually lead to more likely burnout and be detrimental to the sustainability of all or any engagement in social networks. In other words, I think change is part of sustainable social network interaction, and also one of the points of social networks is that they are not rote, remote and mechanical but actually more varied, organic and personal. However, change also freaks people out, so I’m prepared to hear complaints about things sometimes from people who get used to some specific form of engagement when that changes; but, at the end of the day, sustainability is more important to me personally, and also, frankly, I’m going to continue to engage in what I’m enthusiastic about and that will change.
“If I were to suggest anything for the library’s use of the tumblr it would be to post less frequently in favour of occasionally posting images with commentary and that can be linked back to library materials, as well as re-posting thematically appropriate content. This would engage followers with the library in a more direct way and support the relationships and cross-references they wrote about in their mission page.”
Yeah, it’s an ongoing experiment in how to participate on Tumblr in a way specific to itself. For example, I’m not using Tumblr to microblog, as I have Twitter. I’m not using Tumblr to blog, as I have WordPress; and in fact the blog is much more focused on a lower frequency and content curated from the site or specific to the site’s subject matter. I’m not using Tumblr as a website, I’ve got that in spades. The question for me has been, how to engage Tumblr specific to itself and the custom of those using it while also furthering the overall mission of engaging people in social networks on behalf of the Hermetic Library. So, currently anyway, I engage Tumblr as a somewhat outer concentric circle, around the core engagement of the website itself and the closer engagement on the blog.
Another example of this is also how I curate differently even within Tumblr itself between what I post or re-blog and what, within the idiom of Tumblr itself, I “like”. When I first started to engage on Tumblr, I didn’t offer a link on the sidebar to those posts that I “liked” but then added that later. However, I have a clear distinction for myself that what I “like” on Tumblr can be both less closely related to the subject matter or the site and, also, less safe work work. For example, I try to re-blog directly nothing more than artistic nudity and avoid directly posting overt sex. Even still, I do avoid overt pornography either way.
I was actually posting over 30 from the queue for a while, but stepped that down to 24, so one an hour now. But, it seems to me that’s part of what Tumblr is, for people who use it, and I’ll probably continue that method of engagement even if it is more indirect than otherwise could be if I were to curate more specific postings with commentary. After all, that’s more closely how I engage on the blog, and so there is a place where I do that already. I’m not looking to have each method of engagement exactly or simply mirror the others, but in fact am looking for the opposite, to differentiate.