Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cape Cod and the wind turbines

There is a painting by Childe Hassam here at the Minneapolis Institute of Art - a painting of a New England coastline - a painting somewhat marred by a sailboat which seems all too close to the rocky shore.  I would have preferred the painting without the sailbout.  I sat across from it listening to Henryk Górecki - and after a few minutes was no longer distracted by the sailboat.

The opponents of the distant "wind farm" make no complaint when a modern sailboat traverses their seascape. But these sailboats often have a history intertwined with turbines.

The sail of the modern wind-powered vessel benefited greatly from the Wright Bros and others developing powered flight with the resultant advances in the design of air foils.  Closely related developments have greatly benefited the techniques and theories for the hulls of those same vessels.

But a modern sailboat tacking across a bay is not an eye-sore.  This eastern coast is not the pristine coast of the Pacific Northwest along Vancouver Island's western shore.

Not-in-our-backyard here means "not at the limit of our horizon".  That we might be trying to reduce the needless haze along a horizon does not enter into their thinking: they want to see ocean.  Ocean uninterrupted, vanishing into the distance.

Let these turbines lie along a prairie horizon.  Who could be offended?  Place them along a major ridge or fault.  Who could take exception?  But where is there a good place to lay down a haze from exhaust gases?

Perhaps it is too much to applaud Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's announcement today.  Perhaps a sense of relief is enough: selfish, short-sighted and noisy indignation did not get in the way.

Likely we will soon learn that efficient wind-driven generators do not require these towers and these high winds - and can be placed in less optimal locations.  That we will be able to applaud when that technology is dicreetly placed in the field - of someone's vision.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Asus Netbook and EeeBuntu (again)

Again I find myself coming back from a sleeping netbook to no wireless connection.

I thought I would post what seems to work well enough short of a diagnosis or fix:

The idea is to stop and restart two processes.
Open a terminal session then enter
sudo pkill nm-applet
sudo pkill NetworkManager
sudo NetworkManager &
sudo nm-applet &
Now the nm-applet returns to the topbar, shows wireless connections and my wireless in fact reconnects automatically within a few seconds of completing this little reset task.

The trailing ampersands leave the process running; you may not need the sudo if you run as root (for daily use I always login as a user)
You may also run the "services" app from the applications menu to check that you are not needlessly running a Bluetooth process which you do not use.

I have not had time to look into which update(s) to this EeeBuntu 3.0 may be the culprit(s).

Post a comment if you have a tip or correction ...

And I still love EeeBuntu on this lil' netbook !

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A night on the River (from Heart of Darkness)

If your web browser has the MIT Curl plugin installed and you have an interest in maritime literature or Joseph Conrad, I have posted a page at with an extract from the opening of Heart of Darkness and entitled it A Night on the River.

I have tried to keep my alterations to a minimum.  Many readers may recall the opening of Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo - for me today it is the opening of HErmann Broch's Der Tod des Vergils.

A literary ship into harbor is the next best thing to a scene of seduction both invited and intended - although the Conrad may have more of the feel of tristus.

One passage is a link to the Hölderlin shuttle or launch of my last post.

Broch and Hölderlin

I am looking for a scholarly reference that ties Friedrich Hölderlin's sketch for a poem starting »Wie Meeresküsten« to Hermann Broch's great prose work »Der Tod des Virgils«.  If you are aware of one, please post a note or drop me a line.

If you have installed the MIT Curl plugin for your web browser, then you can see my notes at

What I note there is the verb »schifft« which, while it occurs in English, renders translation difficult - as today we ship parcels and sailors ship off to sea but a vessel is not easily said to "ship" but rather "sails" or "courses" or "plies" or "plows" - but there is a hint of more: Schifflein is the weaver's shuttle.

I will build a page to berth the opening paragraph of the Broch alongside Hölderlin's mere sketch and pay across some lines with links.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Zenon Pylyshyn on Seeing and Visualizing

Zenon Pylyshyn's 2003 book on Seeing and Visualizing has suggested something to me from my experience with PC flight simulators and air traiffic control simulators.

In the case of x-plane, a serious FAA-approved simulation using blade-elements and quaternions, several options involve visualization and seeing.

For example, the user can add a "vector view" of forces at aerodynamic external surfaces or the more common visual "tags" for other aircraft or geometric views of flight path (past or suggested future approach path).  And there are various map views to help visualize the flight environs near or far.

In the commonplace view of an evolving "perception as image-replicated-in-the-brain" class of organisms, there would seem to be a clear advantage to the sort of visual aids found in the fighter cockpit HUD (Heads-Up Display): a red aura around the alpha male; a blue aura deepening as an indication of an alpha male's reduced rate of breathing (he really is asleep) and expecially velocity vector arrows attached to prey not to mention "tagging" the intended prey in a herd or group (perhaps "set" and "reset" using words and signals among the hunting group.)

Yet for many of us facial recognition remains a challenge as does our memory for names (spectacles are already in the making for these evolutionary deficiencies in social interaction.)

Then there is our simple failure to be able to "compare" our memory "image" of some state of affairs with the state of affairs where we now find ourselves (not even to reliably review which lame jokes we told the last time we met any given bully-brute: for that audience we had to develop mnemonic strategies as any court jester could attest.)

Even a newbie on first arrival at the Second Life web site will note that tagging is notably missing as a visual aid in our everyday tasks of seeing and recognizing when we usually find ourselves out in the open in a social setting.

The world is not in our head.  Not as an image.  Not as a construction.  Our brains had more important objectives to satisfy under much stronger constraints if genes were to be passed on.  In this regard, see "Baboon Metaphysics" and any given season in the life of a troupe of macaques.

The world is not what we see.  What we see is seen as our world - sometimes seen as unbelievable - but most often with no need for confirmation other than a non-hostile glance and unremarkable grunt - and sometimes visualized as a suitable match or as way outa this world.  And then came mirrors and mimickry and pictures and language, in no particular order or inter-relation (an elephant can recognize herself in a mirror and are now known to mimic sounds - there evolution to likely be cut short by armed hominids.)

Tarski or Heidegger: 1929 and 1930

From the years 1929 and 1930, Heidegger has left behind the work that marks his break with Husserl and phenomenology and some very clear signs of his embrace of Ernst Jünger and a radical conservative revolution - and an extreme cult "historical" nationalism that Heidegger never renounced and for which he never apologized to its victims - especially the Polish (mourning to Marcuse only the displaced Ost-Deutschen - the theme he likely took with Paul Celan.)

Tarski, on the other hand, left logic with ground-breaking work in each of those years.  One reason that I mention this is that Tarski was the teacher of Julia Robinson.

We now know the role that Husserl played in the fate of both Edith Stein and Afra Geiger: Heidegger worked briefly with the former and Hannah Arendt mentions the latter in her correspondence with him.  Jaspers reports being with Heidegger at Husserl's home in Freiburg and raising the case of his student, Afra Geiger.

Afra Geiger's fate was to perish in the Ravensbrück death camp.

Had Afra Geiger been accepted by Husserl, had Husserl not written his back-handed letter on Stein to the Göttingen philosophy department (and had they met in the open) both young philosophers might have survived.

When a young philosophy student - about to graduate - remarked to me that his university, having no graduate school, had no course on Heidegger - I tried to explain that this was no loss.  Better a course on Jaspers or Cassirer.  I should have said: better a course on Twardowski and Tarski.

And what of Cassirer? In 1942, Susanne Langer publishes "Philosophy in a New Key".  To read its last chapter and then the gnome's 1943 publication, "Vom Wesen der Wahrheit" is very sobering.  Imagine for a moment that Langer had any reason to feel that some lectures of hers in Germany in the early thirties had led to some misplaced enthusiasm for conservative extremism - imagine with what feeling she would have announced a correction, a clarification, in 1943 - or in subsequent editions.

Cassirer, like Paul Valéry, died in 1945 and so was not able to reply to Heidegger when he resumed teaching at Freiburg after his all-too-brief exclusion.  Valéry on poetry or Heidegger?  Michael Hamburger on Mallarmé or Walter Biemel deferring to the Master?

When Heidegger opens his lecture on Hölderlin and the Essence of poetry, he make a fallacious claim which Tarski would have disposed of immediately.  So even there, perhaps better Tarski on Mereology for poetics (which via Kit Fine leads back to the Husserl of the LU) than Heidegger on fate, the people and historical up-rising.

Curl markup for philosophy: text annotations and translations

Over at I have a post with a link to a philosphy text example.

What I hoped to make clear is that at each of the web page views for which there are links at each page (starting at is that it is the identical text artifact that is being loaded into each page - a simple "include" macro is present: {include "truth_text.scurl"} which file is just text with MIT Curl markup such as {mbold some-technical-term} which is my bold variant on the usual Curl {bold some-text} text format.

When I don't want to see my bold emphasis in a text, I load that same file but into a top-level Curl page in which the definition of {mbold } is to just return the bracketed text as-is, i.e., with no emphasis added.

I am preparing another page with variant text from key portions of "Logical Investigations II" with translation comparisons.  I'll add a post when that is available at

I have two pending notes at on this approach to philosophy eText/eBook as an alternative to HTML and PDF.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Celan, Heidegger, Todtnauberg

Paul Celan was the name of Paul Ancel, a Rumanian Jew.  Unlike Slavo-phobe Heidegger, he learned Russian.

The poem Todtnauberg begins with the name of the flower Arnica, the Arnica montana of Linnaeus.  This is a flower of Central Europe; when found elsewhere, it has escaped.

The next word is "Augenbright", named by Linnaeus Euphrasia officinalis.

No reading of the poem can ignore these two choices, for Heidegger had mocked time and again the sciences of genus and species.

The attack on reason would place astrology on a footing - grounds - with astronomy.  Consider this. Was there a "dipper" attached by a chain to the water pump at Heidegger's well?

Astronomy has made us a great gift: careful measurement of motions over time - no matter how mocked by the Master - have revealed that the "Dipper" will not remain with that form eternally, for it is a loose cluster of stars passing through our neighbourhood and may be the best clue of the origins of our sun, her sisters long lost, un-nameable, in the multitude, unlike the sisters of Kafka, lost in that other procession.

Should we mock Leibniz for the mere technology of pumping water from the mines?  Should we mock the "School of Mines" for graduating a right-wing fanatic into French politics?

More than one Russian poet was linked to geology, but here we have the poet and botany (Germany long claimed parts of Denmark as their own.)

The appropriateness of names to named appears early in philosophy: and now, later, the Central European speakers of a "romance" language ask that we name them "Romanians" and not "Rumanians".

The word, "slovo" and fame, "slava", are linked to the feeble: "slabo" in the language that Heidegger did not learn - the language often free of the "copula", the "is".

To what extent Husserl's attack on Galileo in the name of "Lebenswelt" was an effort to respond to Heidegger on "Hantieren" that was not objectivized tekné is a painful subject and not the object of this note - this attention, here, surrounds the poet's two opening words, a series.

Steinwuerfel: the pump and the limitations imposed - as first known by Pascal - the vacuum - the limit - to any effort to raise clear, pure fluidity from the depths.

The stone cast, the die cast, the Centurians and the mantle - Schicksal, geschicht, geworfen, the yellow stars, Sterne, Arnika montana, of the open alpine field; Augentrost, the white stars of Central Europe, dense yellow suns at their core.  All of them, pseudo antheria, unlike the linden of the balanced trunk, symmetrical, but with the single bract.

for Robert Schwab of Freiburg U. and environmental justice, for the trip to the Martin-Heidegger-Weg with Herbert Korte, June 1985 (after the Kiel Weyl Centenary.)  the squab

Note: Sabu's pre-Linnaean collection is acquired by Peter I for his "Kunsthalle", east of Heidegger's lost Ost-Deutschen of Koenigsberg [Kaliningrad] - for what can become of "human Dasein" [das deutende Volk] without Ost Preussen?  Heidegger nowhere quotes Akhmatova of the City of Peter.

Stein, Kamen (russ.) Kamin (dtsch + russ)
Trunk - Pitb (russ) Glotok / Glossa
history, mines and wells: the fate of slaves to dig wells; Sterne in daylight from the well
Wuerfel - Kube (Kyb - russ) The sphere squared: the "cross" experiments of Heidegger's diagrams.
pagan, superstition, crafts, symbol: the Aryan cross, the star of David
the orphans in the woods ( Waisen / Syroti ) wessen Namen
das Buch der Hoffnung
Knueppel / Придерживаться / Băţ