Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Zinaida Hippius

Zinaida Hippius

Flowers are most beautiful at night

When wolves hunt the wind,

And Russians, drunk on scent,


[copyright EAC]

NB: The image is deliberately bioptic and double-faced, and designed to be viewed both in naked eye colors and depth, and with 3D glasses as an anaglyph (red left, blue right).

Li Bai : In The Twilight Of The Moon

Li Bai: In The Twilight Of The Moon

On the floor before my bed
the moonlight shines
bright and cold as frost on earth.

Looking up
I stare at the bright moon,
and lowering my head
think of home.

[Tr. E. A. Costa]

NB: This is perhaps the most widely known and admired poem in the Chinese language, and for good reason. There is an ancient dispute about the reading, which varies in a later edition and which dispute hinges on whether Li Bai repeated the characters for ming yue. Since there is an obvious play, in which ambiguity is exploited, it is almost certain that he did, and I accept the printed version with the repetition. The poem, especially in its visual aspect as Chinese characters, is simple and elegant to the point of defying translation. I have tried, in this rendering into English, to elucidate a few of the poetic subtilties that travel across language.

Animation made from original digital photographs by E. A. Costa.

[copyright EAC]

Monday, December 15, 2008

Vexations: A Tale Of Law And Order

Des chevaux ont appris à danser; des araignées se sont tenues sous un piano pendant toute la durée d'un long concert, concert organisé pour elles par un maître respecté du clavier. Et après ? Rien.

Erik Satie

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Six Easy Pieces

There is no historical question being studied in physics at the present time. We do not have a question, "Here are the laws of physics, how did they get that way?" We do not imagine, at the moment, that the laws of physics are somehow changing with time, that they were different in the past than they are at present. Of course they may be, and the moment we find that they are, the historical question of physics will be wrapped up with the rest of the history of the universe, and then the physicist will be talking about the same problems as astronomers, geologists, and biologists....

Richard P. Feynman