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vendredi 31 octobre 2003

It's a joy to get unexpected feedback from somebody, out of the blue.
In a delightful note, Tim Girvin tells me that his work with the Wachowsky brothers was "surely one of the more interesting exposures in my creative litany".

reflectionGood timing too, with cinema magazines everywhere gearing up for 'The Matrix Revolutions', due for Bonfire Night release.
The multi-talented Tim and his team "branded the Matrix", as logged here in March.
A "flight of the fantastic", Tim says today.

Before 'Reloaded' was released, disappointing many moviegoers and critics alike, producer Joel Silver was promising the moon.
He's at it again.
"A gigantic film, as enormous as it's possible to be," Silver's quoted as saying in November's issue of the admirable 'CinéLive' (Fr).
"'Matrix Reloaded' was only an hors d'oeuvre," claims fellow producer Dan Cracchiolo. "The real film is 'Matrix Revolutions'."
We'll find out soon enough.
The stolen moment comes from Tim's thoughtful personal site, a work of art in its own right where I occasionally stop by for refreshment. Interesting exposure it may have been, but that movie was only an episode... His journals make me think of 'Myst' (& 'Riven/D'ni') and of renaissance and mediaeval sketchpads.

A further feast for the eyes has recently been put on line by multimedia publishing house Nouveau Monde éditions (Fr.) That link too is but an "appetiser". The full meal, served up in three languages, is to be savoured at 'The Illuminated Middle Ages.'
This flagship Flash site is a rich companion to a masterly DVD-ROM, 'Le Moyen Age en lumière' (Mac/PC), which draws on the treasures of French libraries to offer 10 different pathways through Mediaeval art and illumination.

verdunrabbitThe colours, content and form of the hundreds of images on display, many of them hitherto unpublished, are quite stunningly beautiful. Nouveau Monde and their partners set out to surprise us as well, putting paid to many received ideas about the Middle Ages.
Some mediaeval scholars, we learn for instance, knew perfectly well that the Earth couldn't be flat long before one Nicolaus Koppernigk (St Andrew's University page on Copernicus) distributed a pamphlet of his revolutionary notions in about 1514.
The detail from a Metz manuscript reproduced here, the rabbit playing the bagpipes, is "a clear evocation of homosexual relations", the historians say.
Hmm. That interpretation doesn't exactly leap out off the page, but then visual acuity was never my strong point.
I'm considerably more inclined to take their word for it than sign up as a member of my offbeat place of the week, the Flat Earth Society.
At first glance, the DVD-ROM isn't cheap -- even at Amazon France, where they've beaten the local shops to Christmas talk. Going by the companion site and some glowing reviews, however, it looks priceless.

7:02:14 PM  link   your views? []

Ghost posts?
This year I'd thought to escape Halloween hoo-ha, which won't stop me checking out fellow Blogcritics fun with it.
The phantoms were at my end of the Userland network: the pair of pieces I wrote for this log yesterday. Since they refused to show up anwhere but in my "home folder", despite increasingly perplexed bids to publish them, I've launched them again.
All now seems to be in order, unless the post count goes a bit wonky because of deletions.

1:18:24 PM  link   your views? []

What a University of Washington physicist believes the Big Bang "sounded" like stopped me dozing through [yesterday's] traditional Tory pig-sticking.

A proud Kathryn Cramer now sees her 'blog entry on her father's imaginative sonic rendering of the birth of the universe topping the Google charts.

Without further ado, here's the Big Bang (.wav file, 784KB) I heard on the 'Today' programme.

The rumbling roar represents the "sound" of cosmic background radiation during what John G. Cramer describes as "the first 760,000 years" of the universe.
Cramer explained a couple of years ago that somebody asked him if anyone has "recorded" the Big Bang.
"The short answer is 'no'," he wrote in an Alternate View column, where the © statement may get my wrist wrapped for even reprinting that much.
The longer reply, it appears, is that by using data he and colleagues worldwide gathered from a balloon-borne telescope over the Antarctic, which rejoiced in the acronym BOOMERanG, and a symbolic algebra programme, Mathematica, Cramer has been able to render a racket a mere 14 billion years old!
Not that the fellow said this to James Naughtie [yesterday] morning. Our Jim thought their might be a flood of e-mails from "creationists" (Listen Again, RealAudio file, 2'25").

Cramer's article of September 2001, decidedly back in the news, also informs us that the space of our universe is, err, "maximally flat". And that it won't collapse back in a "Big Crunch".
The mathematics in his column is far beyond me, but he explains the science clearly enough!
I like the noise.
I hope neither Kathryn nor John Cramer and the National Physics Laboratory will mind my making a mirror on my .Mac iDisk, which is scarcely likely to get even a tiny fraction of the "hits" at the NPL. If they do, I'll "take it down".
With a little more grace than the Conservative Party removed IDS.

12:50:05 PM  link   your views? []

"About 1922 or so, the line-up might have looked like this: The British Empire and a weakened, fractious Russia against a more powerful Imperial Germany allied with Italy, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottomans. But there's something wrong with this picture..."
I love this kind of thing!
With that quote, an 'Armed and Dangerous' Eric Raymond picks up an alternative history ball and runs with it.
Update: ESR is in plentiful company. Rarely have I seen a 'blog debate so assiduously pursued over days. The commentary on Donald Sensing's provocative initial essay at 'One Hand Clapping' is still going strong, with more at Stephen Green's 'VodkaPundit'...
The poor French are coming out of it badly. It all began with Parisian taxicabs wrecking the world (Sensing). For Raymond, by "Great War II, the France that joins the allies is Fascist."
To my mind, that's a rewrite too far, though this country manages to scare itself occasionally.

Nobody but the Ottomans (and probably not even them) could exist in that Kim Stanley Robinson book I'm reading. I'm taking 'The Years of Rice and Salt' at such a leisurely bedtime pace that a review will be long in the coming.
I'm glad, though, to have turned at least a couple of people on to Jon Courtenay Grimwood's terrific writing in the alternative vein...

The entertaining Eric ("sex, software, science fiction ... simple pleasures") Raymond is the renowned fellow who wrote 'The Cathedral and the Bazaar', which is as yet unfinished on my Safari bookshelf.
Now that I've been subscribing to O'Reilly's online library for several months, I unreservedly recommend this alternative way of reading to anybody interested in the range of subject matter.
I've never had a hitch with it, and the page "bookmarking" and cross-referencing systems are admirable. Great value for my euros.

12:42:22 PM  link   your views? []

nick b. 2007 do share, don't steal, please credit
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