dinsdag 8 september 2015

Ted Hughes - Thistles

Against the rubber tongues of cows and the hoeing hands of men
Thistles spike the summer air
Or crackle open under a blue-black pressure.

Every one a revengeful burst
Of resurrection, a grasped fistful
Of splintered weapons and Icelandic frost thrust up

From the underground stain of a decayed Viking.
They are like pale hair and the gutturals of dialects.
Every one manages a plume of blood.

Then they grow grey, like men
Mown down, it is a feud. Their sons appear,
Stiff with weapons, fighting back over the same ground.

{no year found, is it about nature or is it about war??}

zaterdag 14 maart 2015

The #Menuverse

The New York Public Library is making available for download a vast collection of restaurant menus. Here are some visualizations I done of this data. At full size the images are clearer but these are the cropped ones. Another set of images maps historic mushroom use.

Menuverse 1: 

Simple maps of the Menuverse: it shows menu-pages (blue dots) and their dishes (white dots). As the numbers grow the Menuverse becomes more nebulous and interconnected, no dish is alone. 

#Menuverse 2

The next images show if menu pages share a dish. When running it over a small number of dishes the Menuverse has a well-defined structure but soon it all curls up again into a big knot. This I tried to overcome by tweaking the parameters. Later images connect the menu pages only if they share at least 10 or even 25 recipes. 


These images show what type of ingredients are matched with what other types as reported by the name of dish. It is color-coded (meat, dairy, vegetables, alcoholic drinks) but I forgot by what code.

maandag 2 februari 2015

Herbal with treatises on food, poisons and remedies, and the properties of stones

The things you can find online (via Twitter). From the 16th century comes the manuscript of  'Giovanni Cadamosto, Herbal with treatises on food, poisons and remedies, and the properties of stones (Peutingerorum Liber Botanicus) (Harley MS 3736)'. As the pictures show the draftsmanship is tremendous but it is also interesting for its position somewhere between the stylization ans conventions of earlier ages with the drive towards naturalism (to draw form nature rather than copy from the ancients).

zaterdag 31 januari 2015

Pride, Prejudice, Context

Here is a link to a small thingie I did over the weekend. It uses WordTree, the latest addition to Google's webcharts, and lets you see all words in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice as a tree. While it works fine for smaller segments of text (words that do not appear too often) it unfortunately needs more work when the Tree gets larger. To prevent it from crashing or returning an empty frame I have added a data limit so when searching for 'Mr' it starts alphabetically end never gets to the 'D' of Darcy. It still occasionally  takes some time or freezes up your browser for a few seconds.

vrijdag 30 januari 2015

Subordination to and participation in a global system

In the preface to a book collecting some of his lectures "The Global Condition: Conquerors, Catastrophes, and Community" (1992) William H. McNeill makes the following statement about his motivation for being a 'world historian'. McNeill's attempts to write world history within the larger patterns of disease and demographics are fully incorporated by writers better know than him (think Charles Mann) but here he explains it with the clarity of an ideology:
Consciousness of the human species as a whole is potential rather than actual. But just as most of the nations of the earth were created by political events, and then, with the help of historians, achieved a common consciousness, so, it seems to me, real human consciousness can only be expected to arise after political and economic processes have created such a tight-knit human community that every people and polity is forced to recognize its subordination to and participation in a global system. We are not far short of that condition in the last decade of the twentieth century, and world historians, if they are able to construct plausible accounts of how that circumstance arose across the centuries, can perhaps do for humanity as a whole what national historians did for emerging nations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and what more specialized historians have done with conspicuous success for a number of aggrieved subnational groups since World War II." - William H. McNeill