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Month May 2010

Today, the World Lost Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois, December 25, 1911, Paris – May 31, 2010, New York City

Inside Donald Judd’s Library

From T Magazine Blog, by Shonquis Moreno:

Assorted pornography, native plants and the Cold War are among the subjects that fill the library of the artist Donald Judd (1928-1994). But you don’t have to travel to Marfa, Tex., to browse the shelves. Today, Web visitors can click on a floor plan of his two-room library to view the 13,004 volumes arranged exactly as Judd arranged them. The virtual library has been rendered so faithfully that visitors navigate furniture and art designed by Judd and glimpse an artwork by Dan Flavin between the custom bookcases.

“Many people may not know that Judd was an avid reader and that he loved books as objects,” says Barbara Hunt McLanahan, the executive director of the Judd Foundation, which preserves the artist’s homes and studios in New York and Marfa. “We want to provide another tool to create a broader understanding of the artist, and this is a very lovely, simple way to make a portrait of someone.”

Construction of the virtual library required 672 photographs of the interior, along with custom software designed by Ryan Tainter. Even Judd’s notes on how he was going to catalog the arts section (by dates of birth and death) are included. Clicking on a spine calls up the book’s Library of Congress details and a physical description. And while the books cannot be checked out, Tainter’s program links to WorldCat and lists lending institutions near the browser where each book is available for loan.

“People have the impression of Judd as austere and particular,” says Caitlin Murray, one of two catalogers who labored for more than 3,500 hours on the project. “But if one spends enough time with his library, they will begin to look to Judd as a thinker who was interested in more than one time period, continent or aesthetic.”

And whose reading habits were as serious as they were wide ranging: “He didn’t own any paperback thrillers, as far as I can tell,” Murray says. “Or, if he did, he left them at the airport.”

Photos © Judd Foundation.

Basso Vince il Giro d’Italia 2010

Ivan Basso on the winning ride into the Verona Arena.

Love is in the Air

From Žižek.

Secrets of Sleep

From National Geographic:

See the full article, here.

The Archaeology of Knowledge, Part 02

We must renounce all those themes whose function in to ensure the infinite continuity of discourse and its secret presence to itself in the interplay of a constantly recurring absence. We must be ready to receive every moment of discourse in its sudden irruption; in that punctuality in which it appears, and in that temporal dispersion that enables it to be repeated, known, forgotten, transformed, utterly erased, and hidden, far from all view, in the dust of books. Discourse must not be referred to the distant presence of the origin, but treated as when it occurs.

Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, 25

Trains into Tunnels

From Wired, Having Sex: It’s All in Your Head, by Damon Tabor and Erin Biba:

So your kid wants to know how babies are made? Don’t hem and haw or spin some yarn about birds and bees—break down the biochemistry. It’s true what they say: The sexiest organ is the brain.

1/ Attraction
When a mommy and a daddy love each other very much, the neurons of the ventral tegmentum start producing the neurotransmitter dopamine and pumping it to the caudate nucleus, the hypothalamus, and other brain regions. High levels of dopamine can induce the release of testosterone, which is associated with a drive to make babies

2/ Arousal
For daddies, physical and/or visual arousal can cause the neurotransmitter nitric oxide to be released by the autonomic nervous system. The chemical boosts the blood flow into the corpora cavernosa—the spongy tubes in the penis. As they inflate, the veins that would normally drain the blood are squeezed shut. Nitric oxide probably also causes clitoral swelling.

3/ Stimulation
Sexual stimulation triggers nerve cells in the brain to release stored oxytocin into the bloodstream. The hormone stimulates contractions in the smooth muscles of the uterus and of the male reproductive system, increasing enjoyment for both participants. In men, the theory goes, the contractions ultimately assist with ejaculation.

4/ Consummation
The climax phase of the sexual cycle triggers the release of more dopamine into the nucleus accumbens. (Known as the “reward area” of the brain, the accumbens is also associated with addiction.) Doing the deed also produces more testosterone. This can, in turn, result in a repetition of the act. Unless Mommy and Daddy have to get up early the next morning.

Read the rest, here.

galactic

From National Geographic:

Supernova’s Speeding Bullet

Image courtesy NASA/CXC/Penn State and STScI/UIUC

When a dying star exploded, it shot out a “bullet” of matter that’s speeding away at about five million miles (eight million kilometers) an hour, as seen in a new picture of the supernova remnant N49.

The image, released Monday, combines visible-light data from the Hubble Space Telescope (yellow) and x-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue). Rich in silicon, sulfur, and neon, the bullet appears to be traveling away from a bright source of light near the top of the remnant, which astronomers say might be the neutron star left over after the massive star collapsed and exploded.

“Drifter” Galaxy

Image courtesy Travis Rector, Gemini Observatory/University of Alaska

Light from bubbles, shock waves, and clusters of newborn stars spangles the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 1313 in a composite picture released May 25 by the Gemini Observatory.

The image contains data on three wavelengths of visible light, as seen by the Gemini South telescope in Chile. Red represents ionized hydrogen, green shows ionized oxygen, and blue shows ionized helium.

NGC 1313 is a starburst galaxy, or one that shows an unusually high rate of star formation. Normally galaxies get a star-making boost from interactions with their neighbors—close galactic encounters can create gravitational effects that ignite stellar birth. But NGC 1313 is a drifter, far from other galaxy groups, so the reason for its starburst activity is a mystery.

More, here.

Heart and Soul

Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

A new infrared picture is giving astronomers an unprecedented glimpse into the “heart” and “soul” of the Perseus Arm, one of the spiral arms of our Milky Way galaxy.

The Heart nebula (right) was named for its resemblance to a human heart. Like its neighbor the Soul nebula, the swirling cloud of gas and dust is a star-forming region. Intense radiation and winds from the newborn stars inside have carved giant bubbles in these two clouds, giving the nebulae their distinctive shapes.

The new picture, released May 24 by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, offers a glimpse into the cooler, dustier crevices of the clouds, where gas and dust are just beginning to coalesce into new stars.

To the Lighthouse

By Memoryhouse.

The Gavia is Open

From Cycling News:

Photo: Graham Watson

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