The Overlord of the Über-Feral says: Welcome to my bijou bloguette. You can scroll down to sample more or simply:

• Read a Writerization at Random: RaWaR

O.o.t.Ü.-F.: Not Just A Blog… A Key Lifestyle Commitment…

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The Overlord of the Über-Feral says: Welcome to my bijou bloguette. You can scroll down to sample more or simply:

• Read a Writerization at Random: RaWaR

O.o.t.Ü.-F.: Not Just A Blog… A Key Lifestyle Commitment…

Papyrocentric Performativity Presents:

• Sky Story – *The Cloud Book: How to Understand the Skies*, Richard Hamblyn (David & Charles 2008)

• Wine Words – *The Oxford Companion to Wine*, ed. Janice Robinson (Oxford University Press 2006)

• Nu Worlds – *Numericon*, Marianne Freiberger and Rachel Thomas (Quercus Editions 2014)

• Thalassobiblion – *Ocean: The Definitive Visual Guide*, introduction by Fabien Cousteau (Dorling Kindersley 2014) (posted @ Overlord of the Über-Feral)

Or Read a Review at Random: RaRaR

*Ocean: The Definitive Visual Guide*, introduction by Fabien Cousteau (Dorling Kindersley 2014)

A big book for a big subject: the sea. But “guide” isn’t the *mot *juste. “Encyclopaedia” is better, because the book covers all aspects of oceanography and marine life, drawing on physics, chemistry and biology to describe everything inorganic from waves and icebergs to whirlpools and underwater volcanoes, everything organic from a beautiful flower like beach morning-glory, *Ipomoea imperati*, to a grotesque fish like the Pacific blackdragon, *Idiacanthus antrostomus*. The flower is on the shore, the fish is in the abyss, but both of them descend from a single ancestor.

And that ancestor may have evolved in the sea. It certainly moved there before it gave rise to flowers and fish. This big subject is also a very important one: the sea is central to the evolution and continued existence of life on earth. Only the sun matters as much, but some marine life could potentially survive the disappearance of the sun:

Hydrothermal vents are similar to hot springs on land. Located near ocean ridges and rifts, at an average depth of 2,100m (7,000ft), they spew out mineral-rich, superheated seawater. Some have tall chimneys, formed from dissolved minerals that precipitate when the hot vent water meets cold, deep-ocean water. The mix of heat and chemicals supports animal communities around the vents – the first life known to exist entirely without the energy of sunlight. (pg. 188, “The Open Ocean and Ocean Floor”)

The deep ocean is a fascinating and little-known place: much nearer than the other side of the earth, but much harder to get to. Like climbing mountains, plumbing the abyss is difficult and dangerous. It’s interesting that both endeavours have been dominated by a particular group of human being: both the highest and lowest points on the planet were first reached by white males. Fabien Cousteau, who introduces this book, continues the tradition. He’s the grandson of Jacques Cousteau (1910-97), who popularized diving and marine biology for millions of people. Jacques saw huge advances in marine technology and science and his son and grandson have seen more. But the discoveries are still coming: as Fabien points out, it’s estimated that “over 90 per cent of the world’s biodiversity resides in its oceans”.

Some of that biodiversity left the water for the land and evolved new forms. Some of those new forms went back to the water, like the ceteceans and sea-snakes. Like human beings, they’re descended from fish, the most varied of all vertebrate groups. But some marine life never left its cradle. Where else can you find the beauty and strangeness of groups like the jellyfish? Radial symmetry is a marine speciality and when H.P. Lovecraft was inventing his aliens, he looked to under-space as much as outer:

But to give it a name at this stage was mere folly. It looked like a radiate, but was clearly something more. It was partly vegetable, but had three-fourths of the essentials of animal structure. That it was marine in origin, its symmetrical contour and certain other attributes clearly indicated; yet one could not be exact as to the limit of its later adaptations. The wings, after all, held a persistent suggestion of the aerial. How it could have undergone its tremendously complex evolution on a new-born earth in time to leave prints in Archaean rocks was so far beyond conception as to make Lake whimsically recall the primal myths about Great Old Ones who filtered down from the stars and concocted earth life as a joke or mistake; and the wild tales of cosmic hill things from outside told by a folklorist colleague in Miskatonic’s English department. (

At the Mountains of Madness, 1931)

Lovecraft would have enjoyed *Ocean* as much as Jacques Cousteau. It closes with a detailed “Atlas of the Oceans”, with maps of the ocean floor all around the world. Before that, you can learn how the Corryvreckan whirlpool nearly killed George Orwell in 1947, where to find manganese nodules, why so many deep-sea creatures are red and what the narwhale’s horn really is. You can also feast your eyes on photography that records everything from microscopic plankton to swirling hurricanes hundreds of kilometres across. Big subject, big book. Beautiful subject and beautiful book too.

The only two digits found in all standard bases are 1 and 0. But they behave quite differently. Suppose you take the integers 1 to 100 and compare the number of 1s and 0s in the representation of each integer, *n*, in bases 2 to *n*-1. For example, 10 would look like this:

1010 in base 2

101 in base 3

22 in base 4

20 in base 5

14 in base 6

13 in base 7

12 in base 8

11 in base 9

So there are nine 1s and four 0s. If you check 1 to 100 using this all-base function, the count of 1s goes like this:

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 5, 8, 5, 9, 9, 11, 10, 15, 12, 14, 13, 15, 12, 17, 14, 20, 19, 20, 15, 23, 19, 22, 22, 25, 24, 31, 21, 25, 24, 24, 27, 33, 27, 31, 29, 34, 29, 36, 30, 34, 35, 34, 30, 40, 33, 36, 35, 38, 34, 42, 37, 43, 40, 41, 37, 48, 39, 42, 42, 44, 43, 48, 43, 47, 46, 51, 42, 53, 44, 48, 50, 51, 50, 55, 48, 59, 55, 55, 54, 64, 57, 57, 55, 60, 57, 68, 60, 64, 63, 64, 59, 68, 58, 61, 63.

And the count of 0s goes like this:

0, 1, 0, 2, 1, 2, 0, 4, 4, 4, 2, 5, 1, 2, 2, 7, 4, 8, 4, 7, 4, 3, 1, 8, 4, 4, 6, 8, 4, 7, 1, 10, 8, 7, 7, 12, 5, 6, 5, 10, 4, 8, 2, 6, 7, 4, 2, 12, 6, 9, 7, 8, 4, 11, 6, 10, 5, 4, 2, 12, 2, 3, 5, 14, 11, 13, 7, 10, 8, 11, 5, 17, 7, 8, 10, 10, 8, 10, 4, 13, 12, 10, 8, 16, 8, 7, 7, 12, 6, 14, 6, 8, 5, 4, 4, 16, 6, 10, 11, 15.

The higher the numbers get, the bigger the discrepancies get. Sometimes the discrepancy is dramatic. For example, suppose you represented the prime 1014719 in bases 2 to 1014718. How 0s would there be? And how many 1s? There are exactly nine zeroes:

1014719 = 11110111101110111111 in base 2 = 1220112221012 in base 3 = 40B27B in base 12 = 1509CE in base 15 = 10[670] in base 1007.

But there are 507723 ones. The same procedure applied to the next integer, 1014720, yields 126 zeroes and 507713 ones. However, there is a way to see that 1s and 0s in the all-base representation are behaving in a similar way. To do this, imagine listing the individual digits of n in bases 2 to *n*-1 (or just base 2, if *n* <= 3). When the digits aren’t individual they look like this:

1 = 1 in base 2

2 = 10 in base 2

3 = 11 in base 2

4 = 100 in base 2; 11 in base 3

5 = 101 in base 2; 12 in base 3; 11 in base 4

6 = 110 in base 2; 20 in base 3; 12 in base 4; 11 in base 5

7 = 111 in base 2; 21 in base 3; 13 in base 4; 12 in base 5; 11 in base 6

8 = 1000 in base 2; 22 in base 3; 20 in base 4; 13 in base 5; 12 in base 6; 11 in base 7

9 = 1001 in base 2; 100 in base 3; 21 in base 4; 14 in base 5; 13 in base 6; 12 in base 7; 11 in base 8

10 = 1010 in base 2; 101 in base 3; 22 in base 4; 20 in base 5; 14 in base 6; 13 in base 7; 12 in base 8; 11 in base 9

So the list would look like this:

1, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 2, 0, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 3, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 2, 2, 2, 0, 1, 3, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 2, 1, 1, 4, 1, 3, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 2, 2, 2, 0, 1, 4, 1, 3, 1, 2, 1, 1

Suppose that these digits are compared against the squares of a counter-clockwise spiral on a rectangular grid. If the spiral digit is equal to 1, the square is filled in; if the spijit is not equal to 1, the square is left blank. The 1-spiral looks like this:

Now try zero. If the spijit is equal to 0, the square is filled in; if not, the square is left blank. The 0-spiral looks like this:

And here’s an animated gif of the *n*-spiral for *n* = 0..9:

Joachim Wtewael (sic), *Perseus Rescuing Andromeda* (1611) (mirrored)

When I first came across this painting in a recent edition of Arthur Cotterell’s *Classic Mythology*,* it had mutated in two ways: it was mirror-reversed (as above) and Wtewael’s name (pronounced something like “EET-a-vaal”) was printed “Wiewael”. At least, I assume the painting was mirror-reversed, because almost all versions on the web have Andromeda on the left, which means that Perseus is holding his sword in his right hand, as you would expect.

I think I prefer the mirrored version, though I don’t know whether that’s because it was the first one I saw. In either version, it is a rich and dramatic painting, full of meaning, seething with symbolism. It’s displayed in the Louvre and if French etymology had been a little different, I could have called it *La Conque d’Andromède*. Here is the commoner version:

*

Papyrocentric Performativity Presents:

• Himmelangst – *No Empty Chairs: The Short and Heroic Lives of the Young Aviators Who Fought and Died in the First World War*, Ian Mackersey (Phoenix 2012)

• Arioch’n’Roll – *The White Stuff: Archetype, Anomie and Allegorical Albinism in the Music of Hawkwind, 1972-81*, Dr Miriam B. Stimbers (University of Nebraska Press 1996)

• Jewels in the Skull – *The Art Book*, Phaidon (Second edition 2012) (posted @ Overlord of the Über-Feral)

Or Read a Review at Random: RaRaR

*The Guardian* undertakes a close hermeneutical analysis of some respected figures in the rap community and their complex and challenging lyrical interrogation of issues around neo-liberal capitalism:

In contemporary America, success in overcoming adversity (and often systemic racism) is most often represented in financial terms, and it’s a recurring theme in hip-hop. Consider Kanye West:

I treat the cash the way the government treats AIDS

I won’t be satisfied til all my niggas get it, get it?

Or Dr Dre:

Get your money right

Don’t be worried ’bout the next man – make sure your business tight

Get your money right

Go inside the safe, grab your stash that you copped tonight

Get your money right

Be an international player, don’t be scared to catch those red eye flights

You better get your money right

Cause when you out there on the streets, you gotta get it – get it

Or even TI himself:

Regardless what haters say I’m as real as they come

I’m chasin that paper baby however it come

I’m singin a song and movin yay by the ton

I bet you never seen a nigga gettin money so young.

John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-93), *Autumn Morning*.

*The Art Book*, Phaidon (Second edition 2012)

An A to Z of artists, mostly painters, occasionally sculptors, installers and performers, with a few photographers and video-makers too. You can trace the development, culmination and corruption of high art all the way from Giotto and Fra Angelico through Van Eyck and Caravaggio to Auerbach and Twombly. But the modernist dreck heightens the power of the pre-modernist delights. A few pages after Pieter Claesz’s remarkable *A Vanitas Still Life* of 1645 there’s Joseph Cornell’s “Untitled” of 1950. One is a skull, watch and overturned glass, skilfully lit, minutely detailed, richly symbolic; the other is a wooden box containing a “frugal assortment of stamps, newspaper cuttings and other objects with no particular relevance to each other”. From the sublime to the slapdash. Over the page from Eleazar Lissitzky’s *Composition* of 1941 there’s Stefan Lochner’s *The Virgin and Child in a Rose Arbour* of 1442. One is like a child’s doodle, the other like a jewel. From the slapdash to the sublime.

And so it goes on throughout the book, with beautiful art by great artists following or preceding ugly art by poseurs and charlatans. But some of the modern art is attractive or interesting, like Bridget Riley’s eye-alive *Cataract 3* (1961) and Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull *For the Love of God* (2006). Riley and Hirst aren’t great and Hirst at least is more like an entrepreneur than an artist, but their art here is something that rewards the eye. So is Riley’s art elsewhere, as newcomers to her work might guess from the single example here. That is one of the purposes of a guide like this: to invite – or discourage – further investigation. I vaguely remember seeing the beautiful still-life of a boiled lobster, drinking horn and peeled lemon on page 283 before, but I wouldn’t have recognized the name of the Dutch artist: Willem Kalf (1619-93).

Elsewhere, I was surprised and pleased to see an old favourite: John Atkinson Grimshaw and his

Finding Grimshaw here made a good guide even better. The short texts above each art-work pack in a surprising amount of information and anecdote too. What you learn from the texts raises some interesting questions. For example: Why has one small nation contributed so much to the world’s treasury of art? From Van Eyck to Van Gogh by way of Hieronymus Bosch and Jan Vermeer, Holland is comparable to Italy in its importance. But only in painting, not sculpture or architecture. There aren’t just patterns of pigment, texture and geometry in this book: there are patterns of DNA, culture and evolution too. Brilliant, beautiful and banal; skilful, subtle and slapdash: *The Art Book* has all that and more. It puts jewels inside your skull.

Elsewhere other-posted:

• Ai Wei to Hell — *How to Read Contemporary Art*, Michael Wilson

• Eyck’s Eyes — *Van Eyck*, Simone Ferrari

• Face Paint — *A Face to the World: On Self-Portraits*, Laura Cumming

In maths, one thing leads to another. I wondered whether, in a spiral of integers, any number was equal to the digit-sum of the numbers on the route traced by moving to the origin first horizontally, then vertically. To illustrate the procedure, here is a 9×9 integer spiral containing 81 numbers:

| 65 | 64 | 63 | 62 | 61 | 60 | 59 | 58 | 57 | | 66 | 37 | 36 | 35 | 34 | 33 | 32 | 31 | 56 | | 67 | 38 | 17 | 16 | 15 | 14 | 13 | 30 | 55 | | 68 | 39 | 18 | 05 | 04 | 03 | 12 | 29 | 54 | | 69 | 40 | 19 | 06 |01| 02 | 11 | 28 | 53 | | 70 | 41 | 20 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 27 | 52 | | 71 | 42 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 51 | | 72 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 |

Take the number 21, which is three places across and up from the bottom left corner of the spiral. The route to the origin contains the numbers 21, 22, 23, 8 and 1, because first you move right two places, then up two places. And 21 is what I call a route number, because 21 = 3 + 4 + 5 + 8 + 1 = digitsum(21) + digitsum(22) + digitsum(23) + digitsum(8) + digitsum(1). Beside the trivial case of 1, there are two more route numbers in the spiral:

58 = 13 + 14 + 6 + 7 + 7 + 6 + 4 + 1 = digitsum(58) + digitsum(59) + digitsum(60) + digitsum(61) + digitsum(34) + digitsum(15) + digitsum(4) + digitsum(1).

74 = 11 + 12 + 13 + 14 + 10 + 5 + 8 + 1 = digitsum(74) + digitsum(75) + digitsum(76) + digitsum(77) + digitsum(46) + digitsum(23) + digitsum(8) + digitsum(1).

Then I wondered about other possible routes to the origin. Think of the origin as one corner of a rectangle and the number being tested as the diagonal corner. Suppose that you always move away from the starting corner, that is, you always move up or right (or up and left, and so on, depending on where the corners lie). In a *x* by *y* rectangle, how many routes are there between the diagonal corners under those conditions?

It’s an interesting question, but first I’ve looked at the simpler case of an *n* by *n* square. You can encode each route as a binary number, with 0 representing a vertical move and 1 representing a horizontal move. The problem then becomes equivalent to finding the number of distinct ways you can arrange equal numbers of 1s and 0s. If you use this method, you’ll discover that there are two routes across the 2×2 square, corresponding to the binary numbers 01 and 10:

Across the 3×3 square, there are six routes, corresponding to the binary numbers 0011, 0101, 0110, 1001, 1010 and 1100:

Across the 4×4 square, there are twenty routes:

Across the 5×5 square, there are 70 routes:

Across the 6×6 and 7×7 squares, there are 252 and 924 routes:

After that, the routes quickly increase in number. This is the list for *n* = 1 to 14:

1, 2, 6, 20, 70, 252, 924, 3432, 12870, 48620, 184756, 705432, 2704156, 10400600… (see A000984 at the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences)

After that you can vary the conditions. What if you can move not just vertically and horizontally, but diagonally, i.e. vertically and horizontally at the same time? Now you can encode the route with a ternary number, or number in base 3, with 0 representing a vertical move, 1 a horizontal move and 2 a diagonal move. As before, there is one route across a 1×1 square, but there are three across a 2×2, corresponding to the ternary numbers 01, 2 and 10:

There are 13 routes across a 3×3 square, corresponding to the ternary numbers 0011, 201, 021, 22, 0101, 210, 1001, 120, 012, 102, 0110, 1010, 1100:

And what about cubes, hypercubes and higher?

“The recent election of Syriza in Greece offers a vibrant glimmer of hope for the future of social and economic democracy in Europe.” — from a letter to *The Guardian* by Judith Butler, Slavoj Žižek, Jacqueline Rose, *et al*.