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Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 01:46:16 PM EST) Reading, Listening, Museums, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Comics and Sequential Art". Listening: "Science and Religion". Museums.


What I'm Reading
Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner. Comic book on how to write comic books by the famous comic book artist and writer.

Fairly interesting, though not sure how much use it would be to someone actually wanting to create comic books. It doesn't cover how to draw, but might be useful for someone who's already a decent draughtsman and wants to apply that knowledge to comics in particular.

He points out various things, like how panel borders can be used: small and narrow to create tension and claustrophobia, large to indicate space, borderless to indicate thoughts and flashbacks, and so on.

Most of the examples he gives are from his own work, often "The Spirit", so at times is does seem a bit like "look how clever I am". But you do get to see some of his work, even short complete scripts.

It's also fun to see his examples of how subtle differences in posture and lighting can completely change how a scene works. He also explains some things that I should really have worked out long ago, like how BOLDING in dialogue HELPS the reader SKIM. Comic readers often skim the page first then go over it in detail, or if there's a lot of action will just skim the text entirely.

Overall, interesting, possibly useful.

Listening
Short TTC course this time, only 12 lectures: Science and Religion by Lawrence M. Principe. Wasn't sure he'd be able to cover much, but he actually packs a lot of information in. Pretty much sticks to Christianity and Western science/philosophy, though with a little bit on Judaism and Islam.

He starts off with three different models for the relationship between science and religion: the warfare model; the separate realms model; and the complexity thesis, which of course he favours. He then goes through the history of science and religion in the light of these models.

He provides very convincing arguments against the warfare model; and some fairly solid evidence for the complexity thesis, that science and religion have influenced each other in diverse ways. The separate realms model seems to be quietly abandoned early on.

Principe describes the conflict model as originating in the late Nineteenth Century with two authors. John William Draper wrote "A History of the Conflict between Religion and Science", a book with many historical errors, very anti-Catholic and associating Protestantism with science. Andrew Dickson White wrote "The Warfare of Science" and "A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom" less vitriolic but equally error-prone. Apparently White promoted the false notion that before Columbus educated people thought the world was flat, and the myths that the Church forbade human dissection.

I found this particularly interesting. It's often been noted that the Evangelical Atheists are very similar in their views to the Evangelical Christians. This may be more than convergence since the warfare model seems to have begun among ultra-protestant Christians who associated Protestantism with science. Over time, one branch of the movement largely abandoned science, and the other branch turned against all religion, but they still retain very similar characteristics in their worldview, their methodology, and some of the myths. They're recognizably part of the same tradition.

Principe supports the complexity thesis by rapidly going through the histories of science and theology, pointing out where one influenced the other. It's hard to condense this any further, but a few examples stand out.

White quotes St Augustine talking about the heavens being stretched like a skin, in an attempt to prove that Augustine had naive notions. Principe points out that Augustine was quoting the Psalms, and using this as a specific example of why the bible cannot be interpreted literally. Augustine also had an account of Genesis that was already figuratively interpreting the "days" as being longer periods of time. His view on dissection was that as we learned more, even the innards of the body would become beautiful since we understood them. Augustine believed that theologians had a responsibility to learn about natural science so as not to look ridiculous in front of educated non-Christians.

Principe says that one reason it was important for Christian theologians to understand nature, was that to identify miracles, you needed to know what nature could do. He also goes through the usual scientist/theologians like Newton and Priestly.

Later, Principe covers the rise of fundamentalism and the notion of biblical literalism in the Nineteenth century. One reason he gives is the increasing influence of "higher criticism" that applied sophisticated textual and philological analysis to the bible: this alienated those without the knowledge to do it, who then created their own simpler ways to interpret the bible. He also covers the familiar rise of Creationism, which seems to have undergone growth spurts in the 1920s and 1960s.

Overall, a very interesting, informative and well-presented course. Well worth listening to.

Museums
Saw the Chris Ofili exhibition at Tate Britain.

He's the guy who uses elephant dung in his work. It sounds quite irritating when you just read about it. The thing is though, that his pictures are bold, colourful, often figurative, and aesthetically pleading: if it wasn't for the elephant dung he'd be every cultural conservative's dream artist. Usually they're just fist-sized blobs as bases to the frame, or stuck to the canvas. Think of it as the price of getting into the gallery if you like.

Pretty impressive and worth a look. They're also flying his recoloured Union Jack flag outside.

Chris Ofili flag 4845

Pictures
Mentioned the low-budget horses in the BBC Shakespeare's "Henry VI Part One". Forgot I grabbed a camera-shot as I watched.

Henry VI horses 4863

Web
Random. 6 runways. Drag and drop London skyline.

Heart-sinking entertainment news. William Shatner to star in Shit My Dad Says sitcom pilot. Roland Emmerich to make Foundation into 3D effects extravaganza.

Sociology. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the Social Control of Mothers.

< Snowbound | What to do about the body. >
Book of Nature | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Runways... by ana (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 02:09:13 PM EST
Holy mother of accidents waiting to happen!

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

low-budget horses by duxup (4.00 / 1) #2 Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 02:42:52 PM EST
Wow, that is, kind of awesome.


I like to think the actor at least made some snide comment when asked to do that.

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The thing is by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 2) #3 Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 03:02:45 PM EST
There's no mention of horses in that scene. The horse-costumes don't appear anywhere else. Someone must have actually thought, "Hey, you know what this scene really needs? Horse heads growing out of crotches!"

The cameraman shoots them mostly from the waist up at first, but ends up showing the whole thing.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Wow the awesome just doesn't end! by duxup (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 03:15:08 PM EST
n/t

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[ Parent ]
San Diego by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 03:54:15 PM EST
San Diego's Lindbergh field has the most alarming approach of any major airport I've been to.  See here and here.  The basic approach has planes only a couple hundred feet up when they pass over I-5, a busy ten-lane freeway.  It's very alarming to be driving down that when a 747 lands.

I can't find a video that shows it, but if you look out the right side when you are landing, you can see a roof of a parking garage roughly parallel to you about 100 yards to the right.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Oh by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 04:00:36 PM EST
I forgot...many years ago I had to be on the Point Loma airbase for a project and was alarmed when the road I was driving on suddenly crossed a runway.  Other than a sign that said "yield to aircraft" there was neither notice nor guards.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
san fran is also disconcerting by garlic (4.00 / 1) #13 Wed Feb 24, 2010 at 10:37:00 AM EST
from the in the plane point of view. until the last minute, it looks like you'll land in the bay. San diego, where it looks like the pilot is dodging buildings in downtown is also disconcerting inside the plane. But the worst (for me) has been landing in airports near mountains. Albequerque and Los Vegas both you end up flying over the mountains and then bumpily diving down to land.


[ Parent ]
Oakland is exactly the same. by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #14 Wed Feb 24, 2010 at 11:48:43 AM EST
Seems like you are landing on water until the last moment.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
The river approach to National by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 03:57:19 PM EST
In DC. Scary, as you fly below the roofs of the high rises on Arlington and over the bridges into DC. Amazing that only one aircraft has ever crashed (accidentally) there.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Runways by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 05:42:30 PM EST

The best I've seen personally is Skiathos Runway in Greece. There's a beach at one end and a small harbour at the other.

This image is typical, and there are good videos of it here and here.
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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.

``Men will never be free until . . . by lm (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 06:39:24 PM EST
. . . the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.''

I'd argue that the war between science and started well before the 19th century. It was in full swing by the beginning of the Enlightenment. In particular, I'd offer that the separate realms model was brought to late medieval Europe through the translation of Islamic thinkers such as Ibn Rush'd (Averroes). The open antagonism by various Christian hierarchs against this model (epitomized in the condemnations of 1210  and 1277) was the first major salvo in the warfare model which culminated in the Enlightened hostility towards almost all things religious by the likes of Diderot.

Admittedly, not all the figures of the Enlightenment had a purely negative view of religion. Descartes, for example, considered religion to be a `provisional morality', a method to keep the dimwitted masses in line until such time as science could achieve the true morality. Not to mention Kant who had a nuanced view and seems to argue that religion is necessary.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Principe doesn't mention the enlightenment much by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed Feb 24, 2010 at 02:26:29 PM EST
I think his position is that the Enlightenment was largely deistic not atheistic; and that any conflict was between science and a particular church hierarchy rather than religion in general.

That quote's from Diderot. Dunno much about him but from here he seems to have believed in a "natural religion" rather than Christianity or outright atheism.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
I don't know that `natural religion' is religion by lm (4.00 / 1) #16 Wed Feb 24, 2010 at 10:00:03 PM EST
Many Enlightenment philosophers believed in `natural religion' or `provisional religion' of some sort. But that's a bit besides the point, I think. When their arguments place science in direct opposition to religion as usually understood, that seems to me to indicate a warfare model.

Hobbes is a good example. He believed in freedom of religion. In Leviathan, he argued that subjects of a sovereign were free to believe anything they wanted so long as their actions and speech did not break any rules concerning religion that the sovereign may have laid down. Further, he argued that the true religion was that which was reducible to natural science. His god was a god with a literally material body.

But the Enlightenment itself is merely the counter-attack of science against religion. Like I said, religion offered the opening salvo against science which it perceived as a threat once the `separate realms' model began to penetrate the west via translations of Arabic philosophers. The crackdown on the universities by Catholic bishops in the wake of Latin Averoeism was a fundamentally different worldview than much of what came before.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I think natural religion is religion by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 02:03:29 PM EST
Hence the name.

Understanding God through the "book of nature" is firmly established in Christianity since Augustine. The enlightenment use of science isn't a break even with established Christianity. And enlightenment figures like Robert Boyle and Joseph Priestly were pretty explicit in that they were interested in science as a way to understand God, not to attack religion.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Names can be misleading by lm (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 08:01:35 PM EST
Most  people that use the term `natural religion' (a) have no cultic aspects (no rites, no worship, etc.) and (b) argue it rests entirely on science and that where it does not, it isn't true religion.

That said, I'd certainly concede that not every Enlightenment figure was anti-religious. If I gave the impression that I think that every Enlightenment thinker was a warrior in the battle between faith and reason, I apologize. I was only trying to point out that the paradigm was a significant strand in the tangle of ideas that goes under the name Enlightenment.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
That evangelical creationist / athiest origin by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 10:13:18 PM EST
... story is intriguing.

I am a bit skeptical of anything called the complexity thesis though. It seems like an anti-theoretical theory to me - how do these things relate? - "it's complicated".

Iambic Web Certified

Airports by hulver (4.00 / 1) #11 Wed Feb 24, 2010 at 05:06:40 AM EST
Same pictures and videos as this article, which has got a few more in it. 
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Cheese is not a hat. - clock
Genoa airport is cool by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #12 Wed Feb 24, 2010 at 06:10:02 AM EST
It's a hilly city in the foothills of the Alps, and if you're sat at the right side of the plane as you land you come in very close.

Landing in Marseille is amazing as you circle the bay. I saw it at sunset which was fantastic.

And plunging out of low cloud right on top of Berlin was pretty cool as well.

Right, those are the only three places I've flown to, maybe I just like flying...

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It's political correctness gone mad!

You don't need to know how to draw... by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 11:40:45 AM EST
... to make comics.

There are plenty of examples out there, the important thing is the situations and the punchlines, the imagination of the reader can fill the gaps.

Book of Nature | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback