Last week, in my post on walking, I mentioned the poetry of Charles Baudelaire, in which the figure of the flâneur emerged. I first heard Baudelaire’s stuff as a youth, in translation, in this extraordinary recording made in 1968. It was good to hear it again, and I thought it worth sharing.
Embarkation on Sirius One is a rough and tumble affair. This venerable spaceport has retained its grimy, industrious atmosphere and the weary traveller is likely to get jostled and disoriented. Keep your nerve however and you will soon work out what’s going on. It’s a small planet with a lot of traffic passing through. Accommodation ranges from pods to rooms in ‘Houses’. Houses exist that cater to all the major species and cultures, and usually include with shared kitchens, washroom and workshop facilities.
Sirius One, ‘the Crossing’ as it’s sometimes still called, was the first colonised planet in the system. The pioneers found a lifeless rock with enough of a radiation-temperate climate to make exploitation of its minerals realistic, and a well placed staging post in the system.
Today a busy spaceport, the slightly run down feel is attributed, by supporters of Sirius’ dominion movement, to decades of neglect by Earth Central. Their opponents counter that Sirius One could never survive as a private or indie concern, at least not for many decades to come. The indie sector is making some inroads however, with the new ‘Strontium Service’ retro-fitters and augmentation services being rare examples of collaboration between the rival Androzani networks, and about half the accommodation is privately owned.
The work of E.E Evans-Pritchard, the now somewhat old-fashioned, but utterly meticulous and detailed anthropologist, and I, have crossed but once. As an undergraduate I studied the first of his books from his fieldwork with the Nuer, a people of the Nile Valley
What follows are fragments of notes I took at the time.
Continue reading “Nuer scales”
the tedious hierarchies of the printed word
Dennis Potter, from the James McTaggart Memorial Lecture 1993
Phenomenology ‘back to the things themselves’ seeks to explore ‘human consciousness’ believing that through this we can study universal aspects of ‘phenomena’. Phenomena only exist as parts of consciousness, but phenomenology attempts to study their universal essence. Borne of the post WW1 crisis it attempts to revive the human mind as the ‘centre and origin of all meaning’ (Seldon 1985).
Eagleton claims this is not far from the contemporary attempts of Leavis to return to the concrete.
Phenomenological lit crit influenced the Geneva school Poulet, Starokinski, Rousset). The text is a ‘pure embodiemnt of the author’s consciousness’, has deep structures found in recurrent themes etc. and these reveal how the writer “‘lived’ his world”.
Criticism: non-evaluative, complete objectivity. The point is to ‘enter’ the world of the literary work and this to experience the author’s consciousness. For phenomenologists, language is an expression of the text’s inner meanings. Meaning is centred on a ‘transcendental subject’ – the author.
Martin Heidegger breaks with Husserl, reflects on the ‘irreducible Dasein (givenness) of human existence’.
consciousness is constituted by ‘being-in-the-world’ as much as consciousness contitutes the world.
Language pre-exists the individual subject (cf. Structualism)
Central to Heidegger then is not any individual subject but Being. Man is subservient to Being.
Thinking is always situated in an historical. However, for Heidegger history is not social, external, but inward and personal.
Heidegger – ‘hermeneutic of Being’. His philosophy is referred to as ‘hermeneutic phenomenology’, concentrating on an historical interpretation.
Hans-Georg Gadamer applied this to lit crit. Meaning depends on the historical situation of the interpreter. Interpretation of a literary work is a dialogue between past and present.
Understanding is productive. The present is only understandable through the past. linking together in a continuum called ‘tradition’ (cf Eliot)
Understanding is a ‘fusion of past and present’. We make a journey into the past, but only understand it by taking the present with us.
“That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law. ” – English Bill of Rights, 1689
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” US Constitution, 2nd amendment, 1791
Your homework this week is to compare and contrast these statements from English and American statute.
This is a transcript of an information sheet I have knocking around. No idea where I got it from.
- from the Greek Oikos meaning ‘home’+ology meaning ‘study of’
- Quick definition
the study of the distribution and abundance of organisms in their environment
- Ecology as a science
- employs the scientific method to establish principles and theories about the living world.
- Sources of evididence
- field observations and measurement; field manipulations and experiment; laboratory and microcosm experiments; computer simulations and models;historoc data;genetic data;commercial and official data
Levels of organisation
- the ecology of individual species in their environment
- Population Ecology
- processes determining growth, decline, fluctuation of stability in populations (groups of same species individuals)
- Community Ecology
- study of groups of organisms living together.
- Ecosystem Ecology
- study of groups of organisms and the non-biological environment in which they live
- Related disciplines
- evolutionary biology; conservation biology, restoration ecology; economics
|Individuals||Populations||Communities & Ecosystems|
|Density dependence||Community assembly
|Species area relationship|
- E.O. Wilson The Diversity of Life
- Paul Colinvaux: Why big fierce animals are rare – a little dated now but a good general accessible intro to ecological principles
- David Quamman: Song of the Dodo – highly recommended journalistic account of the biology, biologists and travels associated with conservation science
- Richard Dawkins: The Ancestors Tale
- M. Begon etal (1996) Ecology: Individals, Populations and Communities
- C.J. Krebs (2001) Ecology: the experimental analysis of distribution and abundance
- ibid (1999) Ecological Methodology
- W.J Sutherland Ecological Census Techniques: a handbook
JNCC UK Biodiversity Action Plan [this links seems to be broken]
Notes from reading Odyssey: The Authorized Biography of Arthur C Clarke, by Neil McAleer.
In my ongoing attempt to digitise interesting bits of information recorded on paper and kept by me, before finally sending them on their way, the following text has been transcribed from notes made some time in the late 1990s. I was researching the history of fandom, for my undergraduate dissertation, and took particular interest in “sf professional’s” involvement with fandom, and in the ways fandom and the sf subculture might have influenced life outside itself, while grasping towards a ‘neo-tribal’ (after Maffesoli) interpretation of how and why fandoms form.
Despite a 1950s prudishness with the words fanzine and fandom (enclosing these terms in quotes) the book informs on Clarke’s involvement in fandom. The told story fits the standard pattern; entry via the letter columns of the early prozines, but after Clarke meets friends by chance who are into sf. From couple to neo-tribe, from normal social intercourse to the symbolic perdurability of the ‘scene’ – the BIS and Terra Novae.
Clarke therefore seems constructed by fandom.
Fandom as a pathfinder for capitalism may be suggested by p.83. In the US for the first time, Clarke has cocktails with Clifton Fadiman in the Plaza Hotel (ref: Clarke [ed] 1959 ‘Introduction’, Across the Sea of Stars). Fadiman writes:
Clarke is…otherwordly. He spoke of space satellites…interplanetary cruises as other men would discuss the market or the weather. As he explained how, within a decade, three space stations…would make possible (indeed one fears inevitable) simultaneous world-wide broadcasting, our right-hand neighbor (a V-P of CBS) went into a kind of catalepsy…
To understand a mind like Clarke’s we must realise that during the last 50…especially the last 25 years a new mental species has emerged among us. They are the men who in a real sense live in the future…for whom the present is merely a convienient springboard.
At the first televised political party convention [nationally? – seems to have been the 1952 Republican Convention http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1146322] Chairman Joe Martin talks of space travel in opening address. Clarke commented: “Maybe one of the elves or gnomes had got Martin’s special ear in a smoke-filled room”. (ref to the Elves, Gnomes and Little Men’s St Chowder and Marching Society, where Clarke had just been).