Monday, March 31, 2008

pour ainsi dire

For one thing, the appearance of parasitic gaps in domains relatively inaccessible to ordinary extraction is necessary to impose an interpretation on nondistinctness in the sense of distinctive feature theory. To provide a constituent structure for T(Z,K), the descriptive power of the base component is not to be considered in determining irrelevant intervening contexts in selectional rules. So far, a subset of English sentences interesting on quite independent grounds is rather different from the extended c-command discussed in connection with (34). We will bring evidence in favor of the following thesis: most of the methodological work in modern linguistics cannot be arbitrary in an important distinction in language use. If the position of the trace in (99c) were only relatively inaccessible to movement, any associated supporting element is not subject to a descriptive fact.

sez the Chomskybot

We're to conclude not so much that Chomsky's generative grammar has been disproven, but that linguists like laughing, too. Jolly good then.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Friday, March 28, 2008

adventures in deep time

In 1859, on a field trip to the Malay archipelago, the naturalist and geographer Alfred Russel Wallace noticed that wholly different species of fauna inhabited islands only a few miles apart. The observation gave rise to what is now known as the Wallace Line, a meandering path of evolutionary separation that runs in a northeasterly direction through the Java Sea, dividing Bali from its neighbour Lombok, and Borneo from Sulawesi, before skirting the Philipines to the south, To the north-west are the animals, birds and insects of Asia; to the south-east the distinctive zoology of Australia and its adjacent islands. In the middle, where, to a limited extent, species overlap, is an area known to biogeographers as Wallacea. [...]in the case of Wallacea and its adjacent zones [...] after millions of years, distant cousins in the evolutionary tree found themselves reacquainted with each other.

Fiona Gruber, "Adventures in deep time", TLS January 11 2008, p. 9.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

religion in ancient Etruria (Borges)

The religion of the Etruscans, so we are told, derived from a revelation. A peasant was ploughing his field close to the great Etruscan city of Tarquinii, when his ploughshare turned up a child in the furrow. The child, though youthful in appearance, promptly started to dictate the sacred books that lay at the heart of the Etruscan religion. The twelve peoples of Etruria [...] all attended to hear the revelation. By the end of the same day, the dictation was completed and with it the mission of the child, who was called Tages and grew old and died within the same day.

J.A. North, "Lost words", TLS March 9 2007, p. 24


Friday, March 21, 2008


Vladimír Godár - Maykomashmalon for Female Voice: link

Thursday, March 20, 2008

biosphere 0.999a

Die Entwicklung der Produktivkräfte habe laut Seppmann ein Stadium erreicht, wo diese in Destruktivkräfte umschlagen würden. Mit der steigenden Zentralisation des Kapitals sei eine totale Umfunktionierung der Menschen für die Generierung von Profiten verbunden. Damit wachse die Tendenz unter den Arbeitskräften im Alltag zu resignieren und sich der Beschäftigung der gesellschaftlichen Ursachen zu verweigern. Die Krisenopfer übernähmen die Sichtweisen des Neoliberalismus, auch wenn dies ihren eigenen Interessen widersprechen würde. ... Conrad Schuhler referierte über das Subjekt der Veränderung. Während Marx noch angenommenn habe, daß der Kapitalismus mit einer Naturläufigkeit seine eigene Negation in Gestalt der assoziierten Arbeiterklasse hervorbrächte, wäre diese im postmodernen Diskurs als Subjekt der Veränderung verschwunden und damit verbunden auch die Eigentumsfrage nicht mehr zentral. Gesellschaft würde nicht mehr konfrontativ gedacht, sondern sich auf vBasis eines kooperatives Modell vorgestellt. Ähnlich wie Jürgen Habermas in der Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns würden auch die Regulationstheoretiker der Linkspartei den rationalen Diskurs zwischen Politik, Wirtschaft und Zivilgesellschaft anstelle der antoganistischen Züge betonen. Dennoch wäre mehr oder minder verklausuliert die Eigentumsfrage in deren Programmatik vorhanden, welche vollkommen unvermittelt neben dem Theorem der politischen Steuerbarkeit machtökonomischer Mechanismen stehen würde.

Joseph von Hynten, "Konfrontation statt Kooperation", Junge Welt, 18.3.2008, S. 13

Sunday, March 16, 2008

nichts 1.1

22. Historia in nuce. - Die ernsthafteste Parodie, die ich je hörte, ist diese: "im Anfang war der Unsinn, und der Unsinn w a r, bei Gott! und Gott (göttlich) war der Unsinn."

Friedrich Nietzsche, MA II, § 22, S. 388

nichts 1.0

Jedes Individuum, für sich betrachtet, ist ein herumwandelndes Konkretement von 1000 Bedürfnissen, die meistens so dringend sind, daß es ohne deren Befriedigung kaum einen Tag bestehen kann ... je höher die Organisation, vom Polypen bis zum Menschen, desto größer die Bedürfnisse und desto schwieriger ihre Befriedigung, desto unsäglicher das Mühen und der Schmerz: aber nicht so der Lohn: der bleibt die Existenz selbst, die alles letzten Zwecks entbehrt, und nicht weiß wozu sie da ist, wie die Langeweile bezeugt. Man muß blind seyn um nicht zu sehn, daß das ganze Leben und Daseyn selbst eine Verirrung ist, von der wir zurückzukommen haben: und so lehren es die alten Religionen Asiens. - Die Weisheit ist, einzusehn, daß der Ertrag die Kosten nicht deckt, und das Geschäft aufzugeben: dies Geschäft heißt aber nicht das Individuum, sondern der Wille zum Leben. ... Da wir aber ein so großes Mißverhältniß zwischen der Arbeit und dem Ertrag sehn, welches Mißverhältniß eigentlich der Grund ist, warum alles Leben im Leiden bleibt; - so müssen wir gestehn, daß der Wille zum Leben ein Thor ist.
Schopenhauer, Arthur. Handschriftlicher Nachlaß, Band III, 328f.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sans Soleil / Sunless

The first image he told me about was of three children on a road in Iceland, in 1965. He said that for him it was the image of happiness and also that he had tried several times to link it to other images, but it never worked. He wrote me: one day I'll have to put it all alone at the beginning of a film with a long piece of black leader; if they don't see happiness in the picture, at least they'll see the black.
He wrote: I'm just back from Hokkaido, the Northern Island. Rich and hurried Japanese take the plane, others take the ferry: waiting, immobility, snatches of sleep. Curiously all of that makes me think of a past or future war: night trains, air raids, fallout shelters, small fragments of war enshrined in everyday life. He liked the fragility of those moments suspended in time. Those memories whose only function had been to leave behind nothing but memories. He wrote: I've been round the world several times and now only banality still interests me. On this trip I've tracked it with the relentlessness of a bounty hunter. At dawn we'll be in Tokyo.
He used to write me from Africa. He contrasted African time to European time, and also to Asian time. He said that in the 19th century mankind had come to terms with space, and that the great question of the 20th was the coexistence of different concepts of time. By the way, did you know that there are emus in the Île de France?

the full text of Sans Soleil is here: link
some screenshots: link
an elaborate analysis: link

Friday, March 14, 2008

Boil 2.03

Es war einmal die Medien - Once upon a time the media

by the monochrom kollektif

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

drugs of choice 0.2

meine droge von wahlen

placebo - today's recommended drug of choice

Prozac, the antidepressant taken by 40 million worldwide does not work and nor do similar drugs, according to a major review that examined all available data on the drugs, including results from clinical trials that the manufacturers chose not to publish at the time. (...) It appeared that patients had improved, but those on a placebo improved just as much as those on the drugs. The only exceptions were the most severely depressed patients, said the authors, Prof Irving Kirsch from the department of psychology at Hull University and colleagues in the US and Canada.

Guardian Weekly, 29.02.08, p. 7

pedagogia obscura

The ignorant schoolmaster (Rancière) as pdf: link

via infinite thought

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Sunday, March 09, 2008

natura lapsa

Planting trees was also one of the solutions seized upon by contemporaries who worked to master nature in a different way. Not fire, but sand, was the irritant across many parts of the north German plain. Giant shifting dunes filled the air with fine particles that obscured roads and drifted on to the fields, ruining standing crops. 'With the exception of Libya, few states can boast of being our equal when it comes to sand', wrote Frederick the Great to Voltaire, with rather heavy irony.
D. Blackbourn, The Conquest of Nature, London, 2006, p.42

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

camera obscura

Many thanks to ank for invaluable javascript/html assistance with the new header slideshow.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


unendliche sehnsucht - dumpfes begleitgefühl

infinite longing - attendant dullness

Kantian anecdotes

In fact, dark coloring and black eyes are more closely related to the sublime, blue eyes and blonde coloring to the beautiful.

I. Kant, Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime, Berkeley, 1960, p.54

le conte du monde flottant

The segmentation in Kluge's stories, however, is not merely perspectival and cinematographic (a fifteen-minute sequence of experience juxtaposed with a paragraph of foreshorting eight years); it also projects qualitative leaps into incommensurable dimensions; this particular reading experience is prolonged in Geschichte und Eigensinn, where notes on Marx's "mode of production" (he dozed much of the day on the sofa, with people coming in and out, wrote nasty comments in the margins, strewed his papers with tobacco spots), disquisitions on Blitzkrieg and on the Chansons de Roland, illustrations drawn from evolutionary theory and the history of automata, anecdotes about Kant, quotes from the letters to Fliess, studies of domestic labor, the history of prices, the politics of the German romantics, on-the-spot readings of fairy tales, succeed each other unpredictably and compete with an extraordingary collection of hundreds of images drawm from medieval manuscripts, films, worker's newspapers, ads, graphs, scientific models, newsreel photographs, pictures of old furniture, science fiction illustrations, penmanship exercises, and the reconstruction of Roman roads or Renaissance battles.

Fredric Jameson, "On Negt and Kluge", October, Vol. 46, Alexander Kluge: Theoretical Writings, Stories, and an Interview (Autumn, 1988), p. 152