an exercise in miscellany

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Mary’s Room

In people, science & nature on December 31, 2011 at 7:31 am

Mary’s room (also known as Mary the super-scientist) is a philosophical thought experiment proposed by Frank Jackson in his article “Epiphenomenal Qualia” (1982) and extended in “What Mary Didn’t Know” (1986). The argument is intended to motivate what is often called the “Knowledge Argument” against physicalism — the view that the universe, including all that is mental, is entirely physical. The debate that emerged following its publication became the subject of an edited volume — There’s Something About Mary (2004) — which includes replies from such philosophers as Daniel Dennett, David Lewis, and Paul Churchland.

via Mary’s room


Bennett Buggy

In history, words & phrases on December 31, 2011 at 7:24 am

A Bennett buggy was a term used in Canada during the Great Depression to describe a car which had its engine and windows taken out and was pulled by a horse. In the United States, such vehicles were known as Hoover wagons, and named after then-President Herbert Hoover.

via Bennett Buggy

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

In history, places on December 31, 2011 at 7:19 am

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York and resulted in the fourth highest loss of life from an industrial accident in U.S. history. It was also the second deadliest disaster in New York City – after the burning of the General Slocum on June 15, 1904 – until the destruction of the World Trade Center 90 years later. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged sixteen to twenty-three; the oldest victim was 48, the youngest were two fourteen-year-old girls. Read the rest of this entry »


In wild card on December 13, 2011 at 9:31 am

A merkin (first use 1617) is a pubic wig. Merkins were originally worn by prostitutes after shaving their genitalia, and are now used as decorative items, erotic devices, or in films, by both men and women. In Hollywood film making, merkins are worn by actors and actresses to prevent inadvertent exposure of the genitalia during nude or semi-nude scenes. If a merkin were not worn, it would be necessary to restrict the shot to exclude the genital area; with the merkin in place, brief flashes of the crotch can be used if necessary. The presence of the merkin protects the actor from inadvertently performing ‘full-frontal’ nudity – some contracts specifically require that nipples and genitals be covered in some way – which can help ensure that the film achieves a less restrictive MPAA rating.

via Merkin

The Garden of Earthly Delights

In art on December 13, 2011 at 9:23 am

The Garden of Earthly Delights is a triptych painted by the early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1516), housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid since 1939. Dating from between 1490 and 1510, when Bosch was about 40 or 50 years old, it is his best-known and most ambitious work. It reveals the artist at the height of his powers; in no other painting does he achieve such complexity of meaning or such vivid imagery

via The Garden of Earthly Delights

Mark Ryden

In art on December 13, 2011 at 9:18 am

Ryden’s work has been featured in lowbrow art publications such as Juxtapoz, Hi Fructose, and BLAB!.

Ryden has designed album covers for musicians including Michael Jackson, Ringo Starr, Jeff Beck, Oingo Boingo, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Screaming Trees, Scarling, and Jack Off Jill, and collaborated with composers Stan Ridgway (Wall of Voodoo) and Pietra Wexstun for Music for his 2003 “Blood” show.

Ryden is also a subject of “The Art Army” hand-made action figures by Michael Leavitt.

via Mark Ryden