Lighthouses, Strine, Chairs, Stoicism, Archives


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A Lighthouse Keeper’s Diary

Peter Hill | London Review Of Books | 6th June 1996

“The light had to be wound up like a giant grandfather clock every 30 minutes. Every 20 minutes we pumped up the air pressure to the paraffin. At the highest level the light burned, and the giant mirrors, the reflectors, turned like a slow-motion merry-go-round supported on a huge bath of mercury. To light the paraffin you had to cause a mini explosion in the light room, allowing a small cloud of paraffin vapour to form in the air, shielding your face while igniting the gas with a burning taper” (2,200 words)

Bogans, Branch Stacking And Battered Savs

Michael Koziol | Sydney Morning Herald | 23rd August 2016

The second edition of the Australian National Dictionary adds 6000 words and phrases which have passed into the language since the first edition was published almost thirty years ago. New entries include dagwood dog; goon of fortune; rurosexual; dry as a dead dingo’s donger; and doing a Bradbury – “a reference to when Australian short track speed skater Steven Bradbury won an unlikely gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics after all the other competitors fell over” (1,080 words)

A Brief History Of Chairs

Witold Rybczynski | Paris Review | 23rd August 2016

“The world is divided into people who sit on the floor and those who sit on chairs. Deep squatting is favoured by people in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America, but sitting cross-legged on the floor is almost as common. Certain Native American tribes in the Southwest, as well as Melanesians, customarily sit on the floor with legs stretched straight out or crossed at the ankles. Sitting with the legs folded to one side is a predominantly female posture in many tribal societies” (2,077 words)

Massimo Pigliucci On Stoicism

Nigel Warburton | Five Books | 22nd August 2016

Philosophers discuss ancient and modern views of Stoicism. “There is nothing in Stoicism that says you cannot pursue wealth, health, education and all those sorts of things. There was nothing wrong with material possessions, as long as you never, ever traded those for virtue … If you can use your wealth for good, you’re fine from a Stoic perspective, there’s nothing wrong with that; but if you keep accumulating wealth for the sake of it, then you’re definitely not a good Stoic” (10,800 words)

Selling My Papers

Phillip Lopate | American Scholar | 19th August 2016

“For years I had been hearing of people selling their papers, and often these writers were, in my humble judgment, no better than I. How did they do it? I had as yet no urgency to place my papers, but in due course I was approached by a bookseller who handled such transactions, which suddenly made it a concrete, attractive possibility. He contacted the New York Public Library, and two representatives came to examine the lot. After two hours of idly sifting through a lifetime’s labor, they departed” (1,500 words)

Video of the day: Reflections Of HAL And Samantha

What to expect:

Spliced from 2001 and Her, a conversation about emotions between HAL and Samantha

Thought for the day

There may be wisdom in a multitude of counsellors, but it is only in one or two of them
T.H. Huxley

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