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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Bianca, A Haiku

(image source: pinterest)
no copyright infringement intended

Caught in the folds of her blanket
watching the sun drift across the lake
she imagines herself
as a sunset - beautiful.



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Deborah S. Esquenazi, El Vacío, The Trauma of Sanctuary, 2019

Cuando el vacío lo llena todo
(image source: NUVE)
no copyright infringement intended

I believe all sentient beings should be free to roam. It’s our birthright.

If you crossed, if you made the journey, if people did what it takes [to survive as an] immigrant in America, which is a lot, then you deserve to be here

(NYT Op-Docs)

NYT Op-Docs

(source: thenib)
no copyright infringement intended


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Is AOC a Super Hero? The Proof Is In the Book

Dance Party USA
(image source: NYT)
no copyright infringement intended

She's a bartender turned activist, turned congresswoman; she's a very vocal public speaker and media whiz; she's the champion in all hot issues; she's hot; and with this new book (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force: New Party Who Dis?, an anthology including the absurdist and the hopeful) she's turned a Super Hero. Buy the book and enjoy!

(Zoon Politikon)

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Emily Dickinson: Four Poems having Kate Scott Turner in Mind

Emily Dickinson and Kate Scott Turner
unauthenticated portrait, c. 1859
(image source: wiki)
no copyright infringement intended

Heart, not so heavy as mine
Wending late home -
As it passed my window
Whistled itself a tune -
A careless snatch - a ballad -
A ditty of the street -
Yet to my irritated Ear
An Anodyne so sweet -
It was as if a Bobolink
Sauntering this way
Carolled, and paused, and carolled -
Then bubbled slow away!
It was as if a chirping brook
Upon a dusty way -
Set bleeding feet to minuets
Without the knowing why!
Tomorrow, night will come again -
Perhaps, weary and sore -
Ah Bugle! By my window
I pray you pass once more.

It cant be "Summer"!
That - got through!
It's early - yet- for "Spring"!
There's that long town of White - to cross -
Before the Blackbirds sing!
It cant be "Dying"!
It's too Rouge -
The Dead shall go in White -
So Sunet shuts my question down
With Cuffs of Chrysolite!

When Katie walks, this simple pair accompany her side,
When Katie runs unwearied they follow on the road,
When Katie kneels, their loving hands still clasp her pious knee -
Ah! Katie! Smile at Fortune, with two so knit to thee!

There are two Ripenings - one - of sight -
Whose forces Spheric wind
Until the Velvet product
Drop spicy to the ground -
A homelier maturing -
A process in the Bur -
That teeth of Frosts alone disclose
In far October Air.

(Emily Dickinson)


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Pessoa, O Dos Castelos (en Mensagem, 1914)

composição de ilustrações de Carlos Alberto Santos
(fonte de imagem: Inverso)
no copyright infringement intended

A Europa jaz, posta nos cotovellos:
De Oriente a Occidente jaz, fitando,
E toldam-lhe românticos cabellos
Olhos gregos, lembrando.

O cotovello esquerdo é recuado;
O direito é em ângulo disposto.
Aquelle diz Itália onde é pousado;
Este diz Inglaterra onde, afastado,
A mão sustenta, em que se appoia o rosto.

Fita, com olhar sphyngico e fatal,
O Occidente, futuro do passado.

O rosto com que fita é Portugal.

Europa yace apostada sobre sus codos:
Yace de Oriente a Occidente, mirando,
Y la abrazan románticos cabellos
Recordando ojos griegos.

Retira el codo izquierdo;
El derecho está dispuesto en ángulo.
Aquel dice Italia donde se ha asentado;
Este dice Inglaterra donde, alejada,
sostiene la mano, en la que apoya su rostro.

Observa, con mirada fatal de esfinge,
a Occidente, futuro del pasado.

El rostro que observa es de Portugal.

(fonte de imagem: Ethics, Economics and Societyo)
no copyright infringement intended

Europe lies, reclining upon her elbows:
From East to West she stretches, staring,
And romantic tresses fall over
Greek eyes, reminding.

The left elbow is stepped back;
The other laid out at an angle.
The first says Italy where it leans;
This one England where, set afar,
The hand holds the resting face.

Enigmatic and fateful she stares
Out West, to the future of the past.
The staring face is Portugal.

The castles in the Portuguese coat-of-arms represent walled towns that were conquered from the Moors in medieval times. Thus, the field of the castles pertains to the materiality in the country. Appropriately this first poem in Mensagem starts by a brief description of the map of Europe and of the geographic position of Portugal in it. According to the mythic origin of the continent, Europe is a woman whose Greek eyes remind us of the racial and cultural origin of the Portuguese nation (which Pessoa believed to be rooted in pre-classical Greece).

But, as often happens in Pessoa's best work, a final twist makes us review the simplicity we had laid out in our minds. Europe is staring out west to the future of the past and... the staring face is Portugal! A double meaning is intended: on one side, this is a clear reference to the fact that Portugal has, in the past, sought its destiny in the sea and consequently spearheaded the European expansion overseas; but on the other side the mention of the future means that the saga is not over yet and that the future of Europe still awaits out west. According to Fernando Pessoa's belief, Portugal will, one day, again show the way and that profecy is the Message itself...

(Fernando Pessoa)

(Juan Carlos Villaviciencio)

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Friday, May 10, 2019

KIarostami, The colours, 1976

(source: FB page of Charles Derral)
no copyright infringement intended

see also:

Je pense au Petit Prince, c'est un film pour lui.

(I'm in the Mood for Kiarostami)

Labels: ,

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Emily Dickinson, Wild Nights

The Manuscript of Wild Nights
(image source: Libriantichionline)
no copyright infringement intended

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!
(source: The Culture Trip)

(Emily Dickinson)


Thursday, April 04, 2019

Koča Popović

Koča Popović in 1943
(source: wiki)
no copyright infringement intended

(Zoon Politikon)

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

The friendly orange glow: The Untold Story of the Rise of Cyberculture, by Brian Dear

credits: Stephen A. Thompson, Campus Historic Preservation Officer, 
Department of Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Facilities & Services
no copyright infringement intended

This book tells the story of the first computerized system to assist the process of learning: PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations). The system was created at the beginning of the 1960s in one of the laboratories (CSL: Coordinated Science Lab) of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Soon a new laboratory would be established with the mission of maintaining PLATO and developing it further:  CERL - the Computer-Based Education Research Laboratory. It was the work of an enthusiastic team, fomenting great hardware and software solutions, home of such breakthroughs as plasma displays and touch screens. Aside from its original role as a teaching tool, PLATO also evolved surprisingly into a social-media platform, with instant messaging, message boards, chat rooms, on-line newspapers, multiplayer games, and the like, spawning an authentic digital subculture, gathering lots of followers. And all that was happening way ahead of the coming of Internet and World Wide Web! The system passed through four generations, improving continuously its performance and sophistication, while essentially remaining a terminal network served by a central mainframe (firstly ILLIAC [1], later CDC). And it passed away as the mainframe epoch was coming to its sunset.
The author of the book, Brian Dear, was one of those enthusiastic followers of PLATO in its heydays. As an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, he had access to a PLATO terminal, connected through a phone line to the mainframe in Urbana. He got addicted. He began to work on this book sometimes in the 1980’s. Initially intended to be a magazine article, the book kept growing, the author interviewed tens of persons and consulted lots of resources. The book was published in 2018. Quite a long gestation! It is a passionate book about a passionate endeavor.
You open the book and you get the feeling of traveling on a time capsule back on those days, you arrive in front of the site of CERL, that old building that had been once a power station with a 175-foot-tall brick smokestack behind, and a track along, leading to a roundhouse. In the sixties all these were long gone out, and instead of the smokestack there was a tower used during the war for radar research.
Actually, the ideas related to automating teaching predate the computers, and the book presents also the contributions of different psychologists in the first half of the twentieth century. A special attention is done to the work of B. F. Skinner, who, interested in the materialization of two basic principles for learning (self-pacing and immediate feedback), created in the 1950’s a couple of mechanical machines of automatic teaching [2].
Were the mechanical and computerized teaching tools two universes evolving in parallel, ignoring one another? Not quite, and the proof is a conference (mentioned in the book) held in Philadelphia in 1958, attended by specialists from both realms. Here a paper presented by IBM outlined the future: 1. the use of computer in the automated learning and 2. the computer to be used in time-sharing, thus accommodating more students (in the paper, the time-sharing terminals were referred as Inquiry Stations).
The book is organized in three sections.
The first section focuses on PLATO evolution strictly as a teaching tool. A generous space is dedicated to Donald Bitzer, the head of the project, co-inventor of plasma display (the friendly orange glow), and the main driving force in pushing the things ahead. 
The first system, in 1960, was one-user. The terminal included a television set for display and a special keyboard for navigating the menus. In 1961, the system became two-users. Various pieces of software were added, and Paul Tenczar created an authoring language (TUTOR [3]).
Changing the mainframe from ILLIAC-1 to CDC-1604 increased the system potential.  A multiuser operating system was created to support 32 simultaneous users. The author was Andrey Hanson who by that time was just a high-school student, and together with a bunch of schoolmates (who had created their own computer, REGITIAC [4]), was working for PLATO, capacitated by Donald Bitzer! 
It took several years till Bitzer succeeded to use plasma tubes for the terminals. In the 1970s, PLATO could accommodate 1,000 simultaneous users. They were thinking now to extend the system for several thousands, and then to one million users (though this would remain only a dream).
Success stimulates competition, so no wonder that other teaching systems were created, challenging PLATO position. The book mentions SOCRATES [5], a system created in the same university, and also the system created at Stanford in association with IBM: an authoring language (Coursewriter) used on a system with a mainframe, graphics terminals, random-access audio, and light pens [6].
The second section is devoted to the social-media capabilities of PLATO.
Several software instruments were developed through 1973-74, having just this social-media aspect in view: Term-talk (two PLATO terminals enter in dialog at their bottom line), TERM-consult (screen sharing), PLATO-Notes, PLATO-email, TALKOMATIC (on-line chat system) [7]. The book takes also great care in describing in minutia detail several multi-user games, and overall the great effervescence of the users is very well caught.
And what happened next? This is what the third section deals with. They wanted to commercialize the product, so they made a deal with CDC in 1974. It didn’t work very well, to put it mildly.  Anyway, CDC implemented PLATO in aviation, power utilities, manufacturing, finances, telecommunications (basically in the industries that were regulated). It also tried to sell the thing in the Soviet Union, Iran, Venezuela. It failed. It sold the thing in some big universities, domestic and abroad. But now it was the mid-1980s.  Mainframes were rapidly becoming dinosaurs. Microcomputers were taking over. C’est la vie! 
As for UIUC, finally Bitzer resigned and moved away. Soon Marc Andreesen will come with MOSAIC, and the WWW era will begin.
Let’s come back to the book of Brian Dear. Maybe it’s too long, maybe it’s too detailed. But one thing is clear. It catches the ethos of a community of engineers who did a great thing sometimes in the sixties.


1. S. Gill, R.E. Meagher, D E Muller, J P Nash, J E Robertson, T Shapin, D J Wheeler, ILLIAC Programming, Digital Computer Laboratory, Graduate College, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana IL 1956, 284 pages
2. B F Skinner, The Technology of Teaching, Appleton-Century-Crofts, NY, 1968, 271 pages 3. Bruce Ann Sherwood, The TUTOR Language, Control Data Education Company, 1977, 276 pages
4. *****, JETS Project Is 'REGITIAC', The Echo, Urbana High School, Urbana, Illinois, February 20, 1963, Vol. 51, No. 11, page 1 (41)
5. Lawrence M. Stolurow, Defects, and Needs SOCRATES, A Computer-Based Instructional System in Theory and Research, The Journal of Experimental Education, 37(1):102-117 · January 2015 6. Patrick Suppes, The Uses of Computers in Education, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, September 1966, Volume 215, Issue 3, pp 206-220
7. Jones, Steve, Latzko-Toth, Guillaume. (2017). Out from the PLATO cave: uncovering the pre-Internet history of social computing. Internet Histories. 1. 60-69. 10.1080/24701475.2017.1307544.