Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bio-degradable electronics...

only short time away or so predicts some clever professor in today's Observer. 

A simple wafer, swallowed as if at communion will open our innards to scrutiny. Innard data will pour forth with such uncontained force as to place passing children at risk of being bowled over. It will become impossible to stand in proximity to a radio or speakers or someone wearing an ear piece for fear that vital information from our vitals leak across. And who among us would want that?

Awash with tiny devices, up our nose, down our throat, in those hard to reach crevices we'll broadcast like a fucking beacon. What we eat, drink, excrete. Who we slept with, if it was good, if we were good, if we were shite. The particularly sensitive will no longer have to contend only with the chip on their shoulder.

Every morning a dilemma over what to take, every evening a crisis about what we gave. I'm bloody exhausted just thinking about the whole process. Finally though, and happily, these silicone slivers have limited life and dissolve inside of us to be then pissed away. Pissing away ones troubles, ah, if only.

And the madelaines? Apparently next month is the 100th anniversery of something Proust did.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

To Manchester Jewish History...

Museum where a section of the Chagall Exhibition currently entrancing visitors to the Tate North in Liverpool is staged. Prior to WW1 Chagall spent time in Paris mixing with others of the Eastern Europe artistic diaspora and the tiny exhibition hosted by the MMJ shows works by Chaim Soutine and Sonia Delaunay and others, as well as Chagall.

By happy coincidence Elaine Feinstein about whom I know very little was also present and reading from her recently published memoir as part of Manchester's Literature Festival. Mrs Feinstein told anecdotes that made us laugh and read some of her poetry but she also read 'An Attempt at Jealousy' by the Russian Poet Marina Tsvetaeva which I thought wonderful. Here it is...

How is your life with that other one?
Simpler, is it? A stroke of the oars
and a long coastline—
and the memory of me

is soon a drifting island
(not in the ocean—in the sky!)
Souls—you will be sisters—
sisters, not lovers.

How is your life with an ordinary
woman? without the god inside her?
The queen supplanted—

How do you breathe now?
Flinch, waking up?
What do you do, poor man?

“Hysterics and interruptions—
enough! I’ll rent my own house!”
How is your life with that other,
you, my own.

Is the breakfast delicious?
(If you get sick, don’t blame me!)
How is it, living with a postcard?
You who stood on Sinai.

How’s your life with a tourist
on Earth? Her rib (do you love her?)
is it to your liking?

How’s life? Do you cough?
Do you hum to drown out the mice in your mind?

How do you live with cheap goods: is the market rising?
How’s kissing plaster-dust?

Are you bored with her new body?
How’s it going, with an earthly woman,
with no sixth sense?

                                                         Are you happy?
No? In a shallow pit—how is your life,
my beloved? Hard as mine
with another man?


I loved the sarcasm and caustic wit but the poem's real power lies in the wrenching finale where Tsvetsaeva's gaze turns inward.

It's not often I'm introduced to two exceptional poets in one day. Lucky old me.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Top five physics discoveries...

chosen by Physics World mag makes today's headlines. In no particularly order these are:

Hadron therapy: Nasty for tumours good for us.
Quantum computing: or, at the quantum level all states can be achieved at the same time and therefore the right answer will also occur in there somewhere. Strikes me as overcrowding by another name, but there you go.
Graphene: super thin material no ones quite found a use for yet but will never make it as a blanket.
Superlenses: or glass beads for superseeing.
Kinetic energy harvesting: or, how flip-flops will light a city. 

Hadron therapy, quantum computing, graphene and superlenses demand we look down at the depth. KEH demands we look down at the shoe. Or, get a load of those shoes, or, more specifically, we can get a load off those shoes. It's best foot forwards from now on methinks.