1. Shimmering data is one of the most useful, evocative phrases I've run into in a long time.

"The climate knowledge infrastructure is constantly opening itself up, reexamining every datum and data set, reanalyzing its data, adding to its metadata. Over time, countless iterations of that process have brought us shimmering data, an ever-expanding collection of global data images that will keep on growing, but never resolve into a single definitive record."

2. And, if characters are changing, so are authors.

"But there is also a new kind of archive taking shape. Today you cannot write seriously about contemporary literature without taking into account myriad channels and venues for online exchange. That in and of itself may seem uncontroversial, but I submit we have not yet fully grasped all of the ramifications. We might start by examining the extent to which social media and writers‚Äô online presences or platforms are reinscribing the authority of authorship. The mere profusion of images of the celebrity author visually cohabitating the same embodied space as us, the abundance of first-person audio/visual documentation, the pressure on authors to self-mediate and self-promote their work through their individual online identities, and the impact of the kind of online interactions described above (those Woody Allenesque ‚Äúwobbles‚ÄĚ) have all changed the nature of authorial presence. Authorship, in short, has become a kind of media, algorithmically tractable and traceable and disseminated and distributed across the same networks and infrastructure carrying other kinds of previously differentiated cultural production."


3. Virginia Woolf, storytelling, and the newest kind of new person.

"Woolf's famous line - "on or about December 1910 human character changed" - haunts the present. Sometime during the 2000s a combination of technology, broken economic life-chances and increased personal freedom changed human character all over again. From the demonstrations on Tahrir Square, to the small exam revision groups organised by women in hijabs in the coffee bars just off Tahrir Square, we are beginning to meet a new kind of person: the networked individual, with weak organisational loyalty, multiple personas and whose consciousness is produced by continual, multiplatform communication."


Apollo 11 objects found in an old bag in Neil Armstrong's closet.

4. A bag full of things flown to the moon and back, found in Neil Armstrong's closet after his death.


"A few weeks after we returned to Washington, D.C., I received an email from Carol Armstrong that she had located in one of Neil’s closets a white cloth bag filled with assorted small items that looked like they may have come from a spacecraft. She wanted to know if they were also of interest to the Museum. She provided the following photograph of the bag and the items spread out on her carpet."

5. A town devoted to cultural and spiritual exchange with foxes.

"Sitting at the base of Japan's lush Mount Zao, the Zao Fox Village provides a home to over 100 crafty, bushy-tailed vulpines that are allowed to run free and cute amongst the visitors and religious offerings that pay homage to their mythic stature in Japanese culture. Founded in 1990 the 'village' allows guests to experience life in a world gone mad for foxes. The refuge contains six different species of vulpine canines in an array of shades. While the traditional Japanese Red Fox definitely rules the roost (so to speak), there are also black foxes, platinum foxes, and arctic foxes."


Today's 1957 American English Language Tip

desolated, as polite exaggeration for very sorry &c., is a GALLICISM. But an island can be desolated by a storm; a country by a war; a person by the death of a loved one.


The Credits:  1. books.google.com 2. versobook.scom / @debcha 3. lareviewofbooks.org / @farman 4. blog.nasm.si.edu 5. atlasobscura.com

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Never Resolve Into a Single Definitive Record