“Mamihlapinatapai is a word from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego, listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the “most succinct word”, and is considered one of the hardest words to translate. It describes “a look shared by two people with each wishing that the other will initiate something that both desire but which neither one wants to start.”” (Best of Wikipedia)
“Long before he became president, there were signs in Barack Obama of a tendency to promise things easily and compromise often.
…For Obama to do the courageous thing and withdraw would mean having deployed against him the unlimited wrath of the mainstream media, the oil interest, the Israel lobby, the weapons and security industries, all those who have reasons both avowed and unavowed for the perpetuation of American force projection in the Middle East. If he fails to satisfy the request from General McChrystal – the specialist in ‘black ops’ who now controls American forces in Afghanistan – the war brokers will fall on Obama with as finely co-ordinated a barrage as if they had met and concerted their response. Beside that prospect, the calls of betrayal from the antiwar base that gave Obama his first victories in 2008 must seem a small price to pay. The best imaginable result just now, given the tightness of the trap, may be ostensible co-operation with the generals, accompanied by a set of questions that lays the groundwork for refusal of the next escalation. But in wars there is always a deep beneath the lowest deep, and the ambushes and accidents tend towards savagery much more than conciliation.” — David Bromwich, who teaches literature and political thought at Yale and writes on America’s wars for the Huffington Post
“Grab your flashlight and duck under the covers as NPR’s Madeleine Brand talks to David Gilmore, author of a book on monsters. Every culture throughout history has invented its own monsters — it seems humanity just can’t live without them.” (NPR)
“It's polar bear season in the town of Churchill, Manitoba. Officials usually warn kids to stay inside after dark in case a migrating bear comes too close to town. But on Halloween night, the town bands together in a polar bear patrol to keep the streets safe for trick-or-treaters.” (NPR)
“…[E]veryone in the political class — by which I mean politicians, people in the news media, and so on, basically whoever is in a position to influence the final stage of this legislative marathon — now has to make a choice. The seemingly impossible dream of fundamental health reform is just a few steps away from becoming reality, and each player has to decide whether he or she is going to help it across the finish line or stand in its way.” — Paul Krugman (New York Times op-ed via laurie)
Axel Mellinger of Central Michigan University said he spent 22 months and traveled more than 26,000 miles to take digital photographs at dark sky locations in South Africa, Texas and Michigan to produce the panoramic view.
“This panorama image shows stars 1,000 times fainter than the human eye can see, as well as hundreds of galaxies, star clusters and nebulae,” Mellinger said.
…An interactive version of the panorama image can viewed at http://home.arcor.de/axel.mellinger/.’ (UPI)
Roth has long been pessimistic about the survival of the novel in a gaudy, short-attention-span culture, but his latest prophesy is one of his bleakest yet, predicting that the form will dwindle to a “cultic” minority enthusiasm within 25 years.
The author believes that the concentration and focus required to read a novel is becoming less and less prevalent, as potential readers turn instead to computers or to television. “I was being optimistic about 25 years really. I think it’s going to be cultic. I think always people will be reading them but it will be a small group of people. Maybe more people than now read Latin poetry, but somewhere in that range,” Roth told Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast“. (guardian.co.uk)
You are all computer literati and most of you are readers. Are you noticing impairments to your attention span? Do you think Roth is right? Will you be in the (illustrious) minority, when it comes to that? [thanks, Barb S.]