Thursday, May 21

The beauty of palm leaf manuscripts (3): storage and preservation

As I've mentioned to you earlier kids, we have three old old manuscripts. Not exactly a full library which will need retrieval eh?

But information retrieval is very important these days. If you do computer science, one of the first things they will teach you is to how to do information retrieval and searches. In a variety of areas, you need to know how to categorise information so that you can retrieve it easily. There's no point in having information and not being able to get to it.

Think about it. People Google for information but they have forgotten that Google also filters and arranges information. So for example if I'm looking for a film or museum opening hours, yes Google is fine. But if I'm looking for say information relating to film or collections, I'm not going to start there. That's where Google scholar comes in. Or science direct or other search engines where more detailed and particular information is served up to you.

SEO. search engine optimisation is an entirely newish field where your content is served up. More efficiently.

But here we hark back to an older age where we have Palm leaf manuscripts. How do you store them? One of my ladies, Hypathia, who I've spoken about before, worked in the library of Alexandria. Can you imagine trying to retrieve a scroll from those towering cupboards? Difficult eh?



The beauty of palm leaf manuscripts (3): storage and preservation - Asian and African studies blog
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In my two previous posts on this topic, I looked at palm leaf manuscripts from central Thailand and the northern Thai regions. In this final post on the beauty of palm leaf manuscripts in Tai manuscript cultures, I will take a closer look at traditional retrieval aids, and storage and preservation methods. Some temple libraries held large numbers of manuscripts which were stored in specially made furniture. Due to the fact that many manuscripts were wrapped in a piece of cloth, and the title or contents were rarely mentioned on the front leaf or front cover of a manuscript, quick retrieval of a particular manuscript was only possible if certain finding aids and methods were in place. For example, the manuscripts could be arranged in a systematic order within one cabinet, and several cabinets could be placed in a systematic order in the library building. One important finding aid was the title indicator. A title indicator, which could constitute a beautiful little work of art itself, was attached to a rope, and the rope was wound around the manuscript.    


Wooden title indicator covered with black lacquer, and text incised in Tham script on gold background. Lanna, 19th century. British Library, Or.16555. Acquired from Dr Henry Ginsburg’s bequest, in memory of Dr Henry Ginsburg.


Title indicators made from wood or bamboo were important means of identifying manuscripts when these were stored together in large numbers in wooden cabinets. The length of a title indicator could range from 100 to 400 mm. Bamboo and wooden indicators were often simple strips with the title and list of contents of the manuscript incised or written on, but sometimes wooden and ivory indicators could be carved with beautiful floral ornaments. Often they were lacquered red or black and decorated with gold leaf before the text was incised.    

Indicators Or14528-9

Two wooden title indicators covered with red lacquer, with text incised in Tham script on a gold background. Lanna, 19th century. British Library, Or.14528-9.

The Kim Kardashian Liberals


This is a classic column written by a friend of mine. It's a very simple elucidation of rights and liberalism.  I talked yesterday about how people got upset with me for saying rent control is stupid. It relates to natural rights.

This is why I hate religion. Because it doesn't respect natural rights. Frankly you cannot be religious and avoid being a hypocrite. And inconsistent. Idiocy. And more importantly they know it. Which is why, when pressed, they almost always descend into violence as if that's the final solution.

Classically liberalism means that you need to respect your own rights and others.

See the election cacophony at the moment. Everybody is out trampling my rights. Everybody. Without exception. That's what we have as leaders. In the land where liberalism was born. Along with France. And USA. Thomas Paine comes to mind.

Also read up the rule of but. It's a really great rule. In your debates and discussions with these idiots and hypocrites who use 'but' to qualify assertions, use this. It just makes them completely befuddled. Brilliant thing.

As for Kim kardashians butt, that's a work of art.

Look forward to speaking with you son. We are going to go to the garden centre today and are going to get some flowers and stuff. Do up the garden.



The Kim Kardashian Liberals - The India Uncut Blog - India Uncut
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This is the 13th installment of Lighthouse, my monthly column for BLink, a supplement of the Hindu Business Line.

You can hold a currency note up against the light, if you have been trained well, and detect whether it is real or fake. Is there a similar test that can help catch and expose a counterfeit liberal? Yes,  there is. It is the ‘but’ test. A counterfeit liberal is one who will espouse a liberal principle but then, immediately, before putting a full stop on the sentence, add the word ‘but’. And there’s always a universe after that ‘but’.

For example, a faux-liberal will say, “I believe in free speech, but…” Or “I believe in free markets, but…” That ‘but’ invalidates all that comes before it. Anyone who says he believes in free speech “but…” is not a liberal but a hypocrite. (And he doesn’t believe in free speech, obviously.) I have a term for these kinds of people, who abound in the Indian intellectual space. I call them Kim Kardashian Liberals. Too much But.

Wednesday, May 20

The Gruesome and Excruciating Practice of Mummifying Your Own Body

This is an extraordinary practise. Forget the religious back-story behind this but what caught my attention son was the amazing dedication and perseverance these guys showed over years and years of diligent fasting and diet control. I find it so difficult to control my diet. Forget about mummification I just want to lose weight but it's difficult. And here people are dieting with an eye for immortality? Bloody hell.



The Gruesome and Excruciating Practice of Mummifying Your Own Body
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The Gruesome and Excruciating Practice of Mummifying Your Own Body

way to preserve a person’s remains, whether to be worshipped or because they’re planning on using that body at a later date. But some people have gone to incredible lengths to prepare their own bodies for mummification while they were still alive.

Top image: Daijuku Bosatsu Shinnyokai-Shonin.

Why have people practiced self-mummification?

National Adjunct Walkout Day: Should We Feel Sorry for Adjuncts?

Having had taught in several universities in several countries, son, this is indeed an issue. Most professors don't like to teach. They prefer to research. The boring job of teaching is frequently pushed on to adjunct professors or doctoral or postdoctoral students. You yourself have been undergoing this phenomena.

Personally speaking I think academic staff need to do all three activities ideally, research teaching and administration. But what happens if that as usual specialisation happens. Some people do more in one area. And as economics will predict, their earnings will differ.

And yes people pile into doing a PhD without thinking through the implications. If you do a PhD from a good school and in a good area then you're good. But think about it. I'm embarking on a history PhD. If I'm lucky I'll get a job as a school teacher. Forget teaching in a university. Even on an adjunct basis. How many students want to study history eh? So sadly, this area is suffering. Finance. Mathematics. Economics computer science all top of the heap.

Anyway. We are but the choices we make son.



National Adjunct Walkout Day: Should We Feel Sorry for Adjuncts?
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Thesis: Adjuncts are victims of their own bad choices.

Caveat: Universities are run badly. Brown was run like the Russian government, and Georgetown is run like the Catholic Church. Universities suffer from a wide range of public choice-type problems. I mean it. I’ve even given public lectures (e.g., at a SUNY school last month) elaborating on the what and why of their persistent wrongdoing and mismanagement. Everything below is written with that in mind.

Tuesday, May 19

20 Greatest Cricket Sledges of All Time


Did I mention how much I love and adore your quipping, joking, punning and funning ability. It's just brilliant. Keeps me chuckling for hours on end. Here are some more teases and gentle insults for you to read.

As you grow older and start talking and communicating and discussing and debating and getting people to listen to you, jokes are very important. They get the audience comfortable. And more predisposed to you and your argument. And most importantly they like you. Laughter is a great emotion. Too bad it's not pushed much.

Oh and another thing. Having a quip or gentle tease ready at all times helps people give you respect as well. They can never take you for granted. People don't know how to handle people who can make them laugh. Strange behavioural trait that I've found out.

Anyway have fun reading these legendary sledges in cricketing history.

May your days be full of chuckles and laughs.



20 Greatest Cricket Sledges of All Time: 20 Greatest Cricket Sledges
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It's been decided! After much research and drama, after a 2 week poll in which over 5000 cricket fans voted, we bring you the 20 GREATEST CRICKET SLEDGES OF ALL TIME!
Unsurprisingly there are alot of Australians in this list, and coincidentally Merv Hughes seems to keep popping up... Anyway, here are the 20 greatest cricket sledges of all time as decided by you:

20. Malcolm Marshall & David Boon.
Malcolm Marshall was bowling to David Boon, who was having a bit of trouble against the fast bowler and had played and missed a few times. Marshall : "Now David, are you going to get out or am I going to have to come round the wicket and kill you?".

19. Merv Hughes & Graham Gooch.
Merv Hughes was all over Gooch in one test and proceeded to say: "Would you like me to bowl a piano and see if you can play that".

Old Cairo: the Capital of Faith

I think I've mentioned this. From couple of years back, there are more people living in urban areas than in rural areas. So it's going to be interesting to see how they grow and develop. Middle Eastern cities have such a long history. Damascus is considered to be the oldest city going back 7k years. Read the book on Jerusalem by montefiori. Fascinating layers of history. Same with Cairo. It's a fairly young city comparatively. But it has several layers to it. It has the ancient Egyptian one. It has the Greco Roman layer. It has the fatimid Shia layer. It has the Sunni layer. It has the Jewish layer now sadly almost totally vanished. And then the Christian layer. Christianity spread out from Israel and took deep roots in Ethiopia and Egypt. They are some of the oldest churches in the world. And one that I haven't seen to my regret. But then again there's so much to see there. It's on my bucket list :)



Old Cairo: the Capital of Faith
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The genesis of Coptic Cairo is a story of life and light. The stars of the story appear in the Bible and in the Quran. Thanks to its exceptional location, you may explore the sophistication of every treasure at your leisure with pleasure beyond measure. There is an exuberant mix of mystic and domestic architecture in a hearty harmless harmonious fashion.

Once upon a tower, around the seat of power, in the fortress of Babylon, the Babylon of Egypt, a house worthy of worship was founded in the name of Virgin Mary. The Hanging Church of Virgin Mary, the most beautiful in Egypt, is still suspended in time and space on the remains of the southern gate of the Roman fortress. As people congregate at the gate that is ornate to promulgate the message, they read above the entrance: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. We ascend to the church through a flight of steps that led western pilgrims to call it the Church of the Steps. Before we climb, to the left we see a modern mesmerising mosaic relating the old story of the miracle of moving the Muqattam mountain.