Archive for September, 2013

a billion dollar global business in which every single person must engage

Robin Givhan, New York Magazine fashion critic, recently took questions at a live interview hosted on Reddit. I love her answer to this question:

iamknowman
Why on earth did you devote your professional career to something as inane as fashion?

RobinGivhan
Oh, you’re just trying to get my goat, aren’t you? Surely people have mentioned to you that fashion is a billion dollar global business in which every single person must engage? I did not set out to write about fashion. My desire was simply to be a journalist and the fashion beat was open. Over the course of the years, I’ve learned the fashion is a fascinating business about selling magic. It is done on the backs of our optimism and our insecurity. It is as much psychology as commerce. But I’ve also learned that every day we make split second decisions about people based on their attire and those decisions can have powerful implications — see the story of Trayvon Martin and his hoodie. It’s important for us to understand how fashion works and how we connect to it.

Hear, hear!

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losing a language

A pretty meaningful bit from Last Chance to See……

I watched the gorilla’s eyes again, wise and knowing eyes, and wondered about this business of trying to teach apes language. Our language. Why? There are many members of our own species who live in and with the forest and know it and understand it. We don’t listen to them. What is there to suggest we would listen to anything an ape could tell us? Or that it would be able to tell us of its life in a language that hasn’t been born of that life? I thought, maybe it is not that they have yet to gain a language, it is that we have lost one.

Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, Last Chance to See

divine mischief

A particularly funny bit from Last Chance to See……

For all my rational Western intellect and education, I was for the moment overwhelmed by a primitive sense of living in a world ordered by a malign and perverted god, and it coloured my view of everything that afternoon – even the coconuts. The villagers sold us some and split them open for us. They are almost perfectly designed. You first make a hole and drink the milk, then you split open the nut with a machete and slice off a segment of the shell, which forms a perfect implement for scooping out the coconut flesh inside. What makes you wonder about the nature of this god character is that he creates something that is so perfectly designed to be of benefit to human beings and then hangs it twenty feet above their heads on a tree with no branches.

Here’s a good trick, let’s see how they cope with this. Oh, look! They’ve managed to find a way of climbing the tree. I didn’t think they’d be able to do that. All right, let’s see them get the thing open. Hmm, so they’ve found out how to temper steel now, have they? OK, no more Mr Nice Guy. Next time they go up that tree I’ll have a [Komodo] dragon waiting for them at the bottom.

I can only think that the business with the apple must have upset him more than I realised.

Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, Last Chance to See

the most beautiful place on earth

Finally borrowed Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine’s Last Chance to See from the library (can be found at English 591.68 ADA if you’re interested). The book is about their travels to various places in search of species on the brink of extinction for a BBC radio series. I like its interesting content and dry wit, and would definitely recommend it to everyone.

I found this part very meaningful, especially since my friend Karen and I had just visited Bali in June, and we’d tried to avoid the touristy areas……

When we told our guide that we didn’t want to go to all the tourist places he took us instead to the places where they take tourists who say that they don’t want to go to tourist places. These places are, of course, full of tourists. Which is not to say that we weren’t tourists every bit as much as the others, but it does highlight the irony that everything you go to see is changed by the very action of going to see it, which is the sort of problem which physicists have been wrestling with for most of this century. I’m not going to bang on about Bali being turned into a Bali Theme Park, in which Bali itself is gradually destroyed to make way for a tatty artificial version of what used to be there, because it is too familiar a process to come as news to anybody. I just want to let out a squeak of frustrated rage. I’m afraid I couldn’t wait to leave the most beautiful place on earth.

moonshine

Happy Midautumn Festival!!! :D

squee!

Wow Oxford Dictionaries has just added squee to their online dictionary late last month!!! How cool is that?

squee

from here

Click to read an enlarged version!

And click here to check out the other words which were added at the same time! :)

the lost symbol

Finally finished Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which Ahgong lent me in August last year (!!!). Brown’s usual blend of fact with fiction was reasonably interesting, but it was a little draggy at some places. The parts about the chopped off hand made me a bit queasy. The various twists in the story, on both the sides of the good guys and bad guy (yes, only one villain this time) certainly took me by surprise, so I guess they were effective.

The only unbelievable thing was that the main characters, who had respectively lost a hand, bled profusely, and nearly drowned, still had the energy to go gallivanting around national monuments before the day was done!

 


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