found distractions

amuse us, o muse.
(a repost feed of my microblog at http://namakajiri.net/stream) at namakajiri.net
Sep 19 '14
In Aztec ritual, cacao was a metaphor for the heart torn out in sacrifice – the seeds inside the pod were thought to be like blood spilling out of the human body. Chocolate drinks were sometimes dyed blood-red with annatto to underline the point. In one annual ritual, a beautiful male slave was forced to wear the jewels of the gods over a 40-day period, dance, and drink a gourd of chocolate mixed with blood from sacrificial knives, before himself being sacrificed.

The bittersweet past of chocolate.

I really can’t make my mind on the Aztecs. On the one hand, one of the bloodiest Empires the world has ever saw, whose culture justified human sacrifice by the thousands. On the other hand, they gave us chocolate.

(Source: namakajiri.net)

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Sep 18 '14
(via /u/ratteler50)

(via /u/ratteler50)

(Source: namakajiri.net)

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Sep 18 '14

(via lolphonology)

(via lolphonology)

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Sep 18 '14
The novel is most often titled Hóng Lóu Mèng紅樓夢 ), literally “Red Chamber Dream”. “Red chamber” is an idiom with several definitions; one in particular refers to the sheltered chambers where the daughters of prominent families reside.[7] It also refers to a dream in Chapter 5 that Baoyu has, set in a “red chamber”, where the fates of many of the characters are foreshadowed.

to a dream in Chapter 5 that Baoyu has, set in a “red chamber”, where the fates of many of the characters are foreshadowed.

Could it be…?

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Sep 17 '14

I think we can all agree that things will go better if all currently working monetary economists stop teaching their models to undergraduates and instead adopt my modelling approach:

  • A bank is a box, with “BANK” written on it
  • A central bank is a box with a pitched roof and lines on the front representing the fascia of the Bank of England
  • The household sector is a stick man
  • The industrial sector is a box with a sawtooth roof
  • Long term savings are a stick figure with a top hat

With these basic concepts, plus sufficient scribbled arrows, more or less any problem in monetary economics can be solved, up to the level of accuracy of any other model. You can even do international monetary economics by drawing circles round one monetary system and scribbling somewhat larger arrows in and out of the circle.

— – Daniel Davies, The future of monetary economics (click for discussion)

(Source: namakajiri.net)

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Sep 17 '14

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Sep 15 '14

(Source: namakajiri.net)

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Sep 9 '14
Why, then, could Tolkien not finish his legends of the First Age off? […] ​There was in Tolkien’s later life, he notes, ‘a perpetual discontinuity, a breaking of threads which delayed achievement and frustrated him more and more’. Partly the causes were external – loss of friends, hosts of visitors – but partly temperamental: Tolkien could not ‘discipline himself into adopting regular working methods’ (a fault of which he had been aware since the time of Leaf by Niggle). The Silmarillion was accordingly held up to a great extent, in Mr Carpenter’s view, by procrastination and bother over inessentials, by crosswords and games of Patience, by drawing heraldic doodles and answering readers’ letters – all compounded, one might add, by the failing energies of age (see Letters, p. 228). This is a convincing picture, and no doubt partly true. Yet it is not a picture of someone taking things easy: rather of continual, if misdirected, intellectual effort. One may remark that it is common experience to find that conscientious people who have a job to do that is too much for them (like writing a book) turn in their uncertainty to doing a succession of easier jobs instead (like answering their mail, drawing up syllabuses, or rationalising office organisation). Something like this seems to have been the case with Tolkien. He may have frittered his time away in constructing etymologies and writing kindly letters to strangers. But these activities occupied him, one may well think, because he could see he had painted himself into a corner: there were purely literary reasons for not finishing The Silmarillion, and these can be deduced not only from that work itself, but from almost the whole of Tolkien’s professional career […]
— – Shippey, The Road to Middle-Earth

(Source: namakajiri.net)

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Sep 8 '14

(Source: namakajiri.net)

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Sep 5 '14

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Sep 4 '14
kevin huizenga’s The Wild Kingdom teaching us about the history of knowledge

kevin huizenga’s The Wild Kingdom teaching us about the history of knowledge

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Sep 3 '14

(Source: namakajiri.net)

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Sep 3 '14

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Sep 2 '14

These are some comments from students who have taken English 340, 341 and 346 in the past.

English 340: Intro to Old English

This course was challenging because I required a new interdisciplinary grammar to apply to a specialized topic. History, Anthropology, Language and Literature are all relevant to this study. As it was a project-driven course, we brought our individual talents to the class: Two students had an adventure in mead-making, one enthusiastic student reconstructed a lyre and presented a passionate performance of Beowulf, and many students made mock manuscripts.

— (via)

(Source: namakajiri.net)

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Sep 1 '14
Dudo of St. Quentin records an encounter between a party of Danes and King Charles of the Frankish kingdom. In the presence of the king, the Danes were ordered to show their submission by kissing the foot of the king. The leader of the Danes refused. One of his followers complied. But, rather than kneeling to kiss the foot of King Charles, the Dane stood, grabbed the king’s foot, and lifted it up to the level of the Dane’s own head, dragging the king out of his seat and onto the floor. With the king held upside-down, the Dane kissed the foot.
— (via satw, who made a comic out of it)

(Source: namakajiri.net)

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