an exercise in miscellany

Archive for June, 2012|Monthly archive page


In history, people, wild card on June 2, 2012 at 6:53 am

The Luddites were a social movement of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested – often by destroying mechanized looms – against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, that replaced them with less-skilled, low-wage labor, and which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their way of life. Eric Hobsbawm called machine wrecking: “collective bargaining by riot”. It had been used in Britain since the Restoration as, due to the scattering of manufactures throughout different regions, large-scale strikes were impractical.The movement was named after Ned Ludd, a youth who had allegedly smashed two stocking frames thirty years earlier, and whose name had become emblematic of machine destroyers.

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Artificial Scarcity

In wild card, words & phrases on June 2, 2012 at 6:45 am

Artificial scarcity describes the scarcity of items even though the technology and production capacity exists to create an abundance. The term is aptly applied to non-rival resources, i.e. those that do not diminish due to one person’s use, although there are other resources which could be categorized as artificially scarce. The most common causes are monopoly pricing structures, such as those enabled by intellectual property rights or by high fixed costs in a particular marketplace. The inefficiency associated with artificial scarcity is formally known as a deadweight loss.

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Paranoiac-Critical Method

In art on June 2, 2012 at 6:36 am

The paranoiac-critical method is a surrealist technique developed by Salvador Dalí in the early 1930s. He employed it in the production of paintings and other artworks, especially those that involved optical illusionsand other multiple images.

The Surrealists related theories of psychology to the idea of creativity and the production of art. In the mid-1930s André Breton wrote about a “fundamental crisis of the object”. The object began being thought of not as a fixed external object but also as an extension of our subjective self. One of the types of objects manifested in Surrealism was the phantom object.

According to Dalí, these objects have a minimum of mechanical meaning, but when viewed the mind evokes phantom images which are the result of unconscious acts.

The paranoiac-critical arose from similar Surrealistic experiments with psychology and the creation of images such as Max Ernst’s frottage technique, which involved rubbing pencil or chalk on paper over a textured surface and interpreting the phantom images visible in the texture on the paper.


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