Antikythera Mechanism and the Metonic calendar

The new detail about the Antikythera Mechanism possibly being used to calculate Olympic Games strikes me as slightly bullshit, since the announcement of this discovery is so perfectly timed. (All right, i concede that i was wrong.) I want more explanation. However, the device having the names of the Metonic calendar is quite a find. That the month names suggests its origin in Corinthian colonies, possibly Syracuse, is pure gravy.

Archimedes! “Do not disturb my circles.”1 Hell yes.

  1. Those last words are too great to worry about whether they are apocryphal. []

Largest Dacian necropolis discovered in Ukraine

Clipped from here:

Satu-Mare archaeologists working in an archaeological site in Ukraine’s Malaia Kopania, 20 kilometers from the border with Romania, have discovered the largest cemetery in the Dacian area.

Robert Gindele, the head of the Archaeological Section within the Satu Mare County Museum, has stated on Tuesday that the cemetery in Malaia Kopania represents the largest Dacian discovery until now.

He pointed out that the women’s graves contained fibulas, jewels, buckles, rings and chain loops, while the men’s graves contained weapons, some of them spectacular, such as falxes, a special one-bladed sword called ‘fica’, spurs, spear tips and other objects.

Gindele has stated that the discovery is very important considering that the Dacians’ burial ritual is very little known and that the cemetery in Malaia Kopania is the largest Dacian necropolis ever discovered.

‘In Malaia Kopania we have discovered more graves than ever found in the Great Dacia area. We can state for certain that here is the location where the largest necropolis in all of the Dacian area will be investigated’ Gindele stated.

He pointed out that the graves date back to Burebista’s period, with a Greek silver coin dating back to that period being discovered too. This is the second Dacian necropolis discovered, apart from the one discovered in Zemplen, Slovakia, 200 kilometres from Romania’s borders. The archaeological site in Malaia Kopania is located 20 kilometres from Romania’s borders, where the river Tisa enters the historical Maramures.

Let’s hear it for Humpty Jackson

Must have run across this before in reading Asbury’s Gangs of New York, but i’ll be damned if i remembered it until running across it again in reading Luc Sante’s Low Lifes. He’s such a peculiar character, that i’m shocked that i’d ever forget him.

My friends, Humpty Jackson:

Humpty Jackson (died 1914) was a New York criminal and last of the independent gang leaders in New York’s underworld during the early 20th century. Reportedly well read, Jackson was said to be an admirer of such writers such as Voltaire, Charles Darwin, Leonard Huxley and Herbert Spencer as well as various Greek and Latin texts. He was, however, known to be a violent man who regularly carried three revolvers, including one in his derby hat and another slung under his hunchback.

Luc Sante suggests Humpty’s syllabus was similar “to the reading matter favored by ‘direct action’ anarchists prominent in France around the same time.” Groovy.

Another surprise of the internet is that one can track the career of Humpty Jackson by searching the archives of the New York Times via Google.

regarding recent earthquakes

I cannot vouch for how accurate this guy is in comparison to other predictors, but i followed this amateur seismologist EQ Alert on Twitter a few weeks now, and he seems to be pretty good with his calls.

They are getting a lot of foreshocks around the Pacific Tectonic Plate. Honshu is due for Beulah resultant 7.6 and watch West Coast. EQ Guy

Even if there are better forecasters out there, i’m enjoying that someone is passionate enough about the subject to put his knowledge to the test.

Otherwise, Cosmic Variance has a nice post on the Los Angeles quake today.

Enrique Vila-Matas interview

Here’s a choppily machine translated interview with Enrique Vila-Matas from Milenio:

The Catalan writer, creator of Historia abreviada de la literatura portátil, today presented his latest work invited by the chair Anagrama-UANL.

Borges, Pitol, Kafka, loneliness, suicide, hikikimori are reasons that push in the construction of literature by Enrique Vila-Matas, an author translated into over 30 languages, in whose pages repica simplicity, strength and amazement. Theirs is not a historical literature, nor realistic, nor documentary, is a creative literature. Vila-Matas is in Monterrey and is presented tonight at the University Cultural Center, at 20:00 and with free admission.

Enrique Vila-Matas, Catalan writer of very high prestige and portentous imagination, ha ido weaving a newspaper in the past three years. Hence arose Dietari voluble, the book that serves as a pretext for his visit to Monterrey, where he attends invited by the Chair Anagrama-UANL.

“This is a book in which he discusses books, travel and events of everyday life, always dimension in the same way, so I do not great distinction between life and fiction,” he says.

What is the structure of this book?
Gradually, and from different angles, discussed the world, which I perceive the world. In that sense, is an achievement and frustration, everything comes from that dream of Kafka in which arose: we must say everything. “

Franz Kafka, Juan Rulfo, Juan Villoro, Cesar Aira and Sergio Pitol are some of the authors focused on Vila-Matas in the pages of this book. “I wanted to talk about everything, but being only a newspaper he had to cut, edit, and he ended up closer to a few authors. The author has haunted me the most is definitely Franz Kafka. “

What is the role of Borges in his vision?
This book intertwined my views on literature with many other elements of aesthetic appreciation. Kafka appears about 60 times in this book, while politicians do not appear ever.

Where does their interest as great in The Lives of Others and the phenomenon of hikikimori?
The Lives of Others represents an approach to cinema now, something abnormal in me, because my relationship with cinema is mostly nostalgia. I am very interested The Lives of Others, and is also a metaphor for my book, because here more than talk about my life I talk about the lives of others. And with regard to hikikimori, you want to say that this is the image, for me, the writer locked up, you’re at home with a computer, locked in a radical way and at the same time productive. I, somehow, a hikikimori since I confinement with a computer, navigate and I trying to open doors… step long before the computer, because it is as if you have a big library, could even say that the computer has replaced the cigar; now breaks I see my e-mail, look for a blog, these are the new pieces on the board…

How do you noted the possibilities of virtual book, how conceived?
I wrote the book on virtual because I wondered what in El Pais. The future of the book is the same as the outcome of the next game of football, we do not know and, besides, we would know nothing.

Is there anything you are interested in witnessing and it is impossible?
I would witness the end of the world, which fly before my eyes dramatically. There would have extreme beauty, but it is something that life does not allow me to see.

Enrique Vila-Matas stops, reflects, he remains silent, we all know that a certain nostalgia. Nostalgia for when it had no success, when it was not known. “I have nostalgia for the innocence”.

Serio Pitol is a new name for me, and hikkomori is a new concept as well.

McCarthy, Cortázar, & Bolaño

It’s funny how i used to await the Man Booker long list with bated breathe, but now don’t give a good god damn. Is there anything interesting on there or is it yet more middlebrow fare cenrting on socially conscious midlife crises?

So there’s a piece on the Quarterly Conversation that has me wanting to finish the last third of McCarthy’s Tintin and the Secret of Literature. Why did i falter? Because i am a first-rate sucker. Being full aware of McCarthy’s crazy bullshit games, i still kinda bought into it wholeheartedly. I read too many comics in which one really can do that kind of deconstruction. When someone puts up a blog post analyzing every panel of a superhero comic, meticulously footnoting each reference, i subscribe right away. I want cosmic meaning from my escapist fantasy, even if its pure projection. When i read a review (i don’t recall which) that McCarthy was meanspiritedly mocking comics, it hurt my little feelings. I put the book aside and wept. Even if McCarthy was spinning a fantastic lie and i didn’t believe any of it, there was something in that review that made the book sour. This new piece in the Quarterly Conversation whets my sense of fun again fortunately.

Ready Steady Book has a nice piece on Cortázar that i haven’t read yet. I check him as a favorite author, but i haven’t read all of his work yet, so i feel like a fraud. Cronopios and Famas is at the bedside unfinished and The Winners is on the shelf untouched.

A Roberto Bolaño short story in the New Yorker, Clara. One of those first-person narrated character sketch. Another failed or stillborn artist of sorts. Still digesting that.

new side project: Bloody Tangipahoa

Despite Orbis Quintus being a blog that has no unifying theme, i felt like posting the local topics elsewhere for awhile. Breaking into fruitless tangents about how much my local newspaper pisses me off feels off-tone here. Now they’re going to be over on Bloody Tangipahoa.

I don’t think one person within a 100 radius of Hammond, Louisiana even reads Orbis Quintus, so announcing this is a little silly.