Saturday, April 30

Lunatic Science: Umberto Eco's Library

Yes. I agree I'm a lunatic when it comes to books kids. But I found such a great explanation here and it's from the amazing Umberto Eco. His perspective is that he collects books which aren't a collection of books he's read but books about knowledge he wants to acquire. 

I'm now starting a new collection over the past few months. Cookbooks and books relating to food and spices and history. And it's amazing to watch them and salivate (no pun intended). These are amazing books. They talk about food. How people ate. What they did. How they cooked. How they felt. And so many I haven't read. And can't wait. And will buy more books :) 



Lunatic Science: Umberto Eco's Library
(via Instapaper)

If the 30,000 volume book collection housed in Umberto Eco's Milan apartment can be said to inspire one response, it might well be awe. Lila Azam Zanganeh, who interviewed Eco for The Paris Review described Eco's abode as "a labyrinth of corridors lined with bookcases that reach all the way up to extraordinarily high ceilings," and makes mention of the library as "a legend in and of itself." Most commonly, when a visitor is first shown the veritable universe of books that expands throughout the author's home, they can think of only one question: "have you read all of these?"

Though the question is common, it is not a particularly welcome one for Eco. Each time, he gives the same deadpan response: "No, these are the ones I have to read by the end of the month. I keep the others in my office." It is only with some rarity that a visitor remarks on the library's potential as a research tool. This, of course, is much closer to the sort of enquiry that Eco hopes for. After all, the acclaimed author of The Name of the Rose (1980) is a strong proponent of the idea that one's library should be "as much of what you do not know" as is feasibly possible. Most of what's contained within his awe-inspiring library (not to mention its 20,000 volume counterpart at his vacation home near Urbino) the accomplished thinker has yet to read, with the proportion of unread volumes increasing year after year as his reading pushes him deeper and deeper into the territory of that which he does not know.

Eco's conception of what a personal library should be is an illuminating one. Specifically, it points to a sizable gap to be bridged in how we use the word 'library'. After all, public and university libraries offer precisely the sort of experience that Eco describes: many and manifold books containing knowledge that the inhabitant can only lay claim to a tiny fraction of. When we describe someone's personal library, on the other hand, we are almost never referring to something that has value as a research tool. Rather, personal libraries can often be testaments to the knowledge that its owner already has (or believes herself to have). By filling one's shelves with unknown knowledge, however, a personal library can become, like a public one, a place for aspirations. Whether you're researching a novel rooted in medieval history like Eco's Baudolino (2000) or simply hoping to learn new things, Eco correctly shows the way in which such a thing can be an obvious boon.

The question remains, of course, that if Eco hasn't read most of the books in his collection, why and how does he choose the books he chooses? Some of his collection is devoted to his own personal history. For instance, he has spent years trying to replicate a collection of the Italian travel magazine Giornale illustrato dei viaggi e delle avventure di terra e di mare that his grandfather had amassed and which Eco himself had lost in his earlier years. The strongest guiding principles of his collecting, however, have to do with his investigations into human thought. In his own words:

"As a rare books collector I am fascinated by the human propensity for deviating thought. So I collect books about subjects in which I don't believe, like kabbalah, alchemy, magic, invented languages. Books that lie, albeit unwittingly. I have Ptolemy, not Galileo, because Galileo told the truth. I prefer lunatic science."

Browse Umberto Eco Books

Brian Hoey
Writer and all around book nerd, Brian puts his English degree to good use turning words into magic. A great lover of beer, baseball, and books, he can write on Baltic Porter and Katherine Anne Porter with equal ease.

Which is the strongest religion?

So to determine which religion is the strongest, subject the adherents to bench press experiments. I was laughing helplessly when i read this research paper. Only in India.

For the purpose of the study Two hundred ten (210) men from Buddhist monastery, Vaisanab and Tantrik(seventy from each group), age ranged from 30 to 35 years were selected randomly as the subject for the study from Uttar Pradesh, India. All the subjects belong to three different religion of India. The subjects were categorized into three groups, namely group (A) Himalayan Buddhist (B) Vaisanabs and (C) Tantriks. All the subjects chosen for the study had completed at least five years in their respective religious field. To measure Upper Body Muscular Strength YMCA Bench Press Test was used. To compare the significance difference in mean One-Way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with LSD Post Hoc test was employed at 0.05 level of significance and it was found significant for all the three groups. In Post Hoc compassion of bench press test Buddhist and Tantric, Buddhist and Vaisanab and also Tantric and Vaisanab have significance differs among each other’s.

Wednesday, April 27

Goldman Sachs Guide to being a man

This was a really funny list son. Many items were funny but some of them were quite thought provoking. You don't usually find them in the usual coming of age or other lists. 



Goldman Sachs Guide to being a man
(via Instapaper)

The Gents over at Goldman Sachs have a put together a guide to being a man's man. Some you might not agree with, some you NEED to do right now… and without further ado…

The Unofficial Goldman Sachs guide to being a man:

    • Stop talking about where you went to college.
    • Always carry cash. Keep some in your front pocket.
    • Rebel from business casual. Burn your khakis and wear a suit or jeans.
    • It's ok to trade the possibility of your 80s and 90s for more guaranteed fun in your 20s and 30s.
    • Never stay out after midnight three nights in a row… Unless something really good comes up on the third night.
    • You will regret your tattoos.
    • Never date an ex of your friend.
    • Join Twitter; become your own curator of information.
    • If riding the bus doesn't incentivise you to improve your station in life, nothing will.
    • Time is too short to do your own laundry.
    • When the bartender asks, you should already know what you want to drink.
    • If you perspire, wear a damn undershirt.
    • Hookers aren't cool, but remember, the free ones are a lot more expensive.
    • When people don't invite you to a party, you really shouldn't go. And sometimes even when you are invited, you shouldn't go.
    • People are tired of you being the funny, drunk guy.
    • When in doubt, always kiss the girl.
    • Tip more than you should.
    • You probably use your mobile phone too often and at the wrong moments.
    • Buy expensive sunglasses. Superficial? Yes, but so are the women judging you. And it tells these women you appreciate nice things and are responsible enough not to lose them.
    • Do 50 push-ups, sit-ups, and dips before you shower each morning.
    • Eat brunch with friends at least every other weekend. Leave Rusty and Junior at home.
    • Be a regular at more than one bar.
    • Act like you've been there before. It doesn't matter if it's in the end zone at the Super Bowl or on a private plane.
    • A glass of wine or two with lunch will not ruin your day.
    • Learn how to fly-fish.
    • No selfies. Aspire to experience photo-worthy moments in the company of a beautiful woman.
    • Own a handcrafted shotgun. It's a beautiful thing.
    • There's always another level. Just be content knowing that you are still better off than most who have ever lived.
    • You can get away with a lot more if you're the one buying the drinks.
    • Ask for a salad instead of fries.
    • Don't split a check.
    • Pretty women who are unaccompanied want you to talk to them.
    • When a bartender buys you a round, tip double.
    • Be spontaneous.
    • Find a Times New Roman in the streets and a Wingdings in the sheets. She exists.
    • Piercings are liabilities in fights.
    • Do not use an electric razor.
    • Desserts are for women. Order one and pretend you don't mind that she's eating yours.
    • Buy a tuxedo before you are 30. Stay that size.
    • One girlfriend at a time is probably enough.
    • #StopItWithTheHastags
    • Your ties should be rolled and placed in a sectioned tie drawer.
    • Throw parties. But have someone else clean up the next day.
    • Measure yourself only against your previous self.
    • Take more pictures. With a camera.
    • Place-dropping is worse than-name dropping.
    • Your clothes do not match. They go together.
    • Yes, of course you have to buy her dinner.
    • Staying angry is a waste of energy.
    • If she expects the person you are 20% of the time, 100% of the time, then she doesn't want you.
    • Always bring a bottle of something to the party.
    • Don't use the word "closure" or ever expect it in real life.
    • If you are wittier than you are handsome, avoid loud clubs.
    • Date women outside your social set. You'll be surprised.
    • If it's got velvet ropes and lines, walk away unless you know someone.
    • You cannot have a love affair with whiskey because whiskey will never love you back.
    • If you believe in evolution, you should know something about how it works.
    • No-one cares if you are offended, so stop it.
    • Never take an ex back. She tried to do better and is settling with you.
    • Eating out alone can be magnificent. Find a place where you can sit at the bar.
    • Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else's brain, and will make you more interesting at a dinner party — provided that you don't initiate conversation with, "So, who are you reading…"
    • Ignore the boos. They usually come from the cheap seats.
    • Don't ever say, "it is what it is."
    • Don't gamble if losing $US100 is going to piss you off.
    • Remember, "rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men."

John LeFevre is the creator of @GSElevator on Twitter, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Straight To Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, And Billion-Dollar Deals