A colourful book
I encountered this Dutch book from 1692 in a French database today and it turns out to be quite special. For one thing, no Dutch scholar appears to have published on it, or even to know about it. Moreover, the object is special because it provides an unusual peek into the workshop of 17th-century painters and illustrators. In over 700 pages of handwritten Dutch, the author, who identifies himself as A. Boogert (Pic 2), describes how to make watercolour paints. He explains how to mix the colours and how to change their tone by adding “one, two or three portions of water”. To illustrate his point he fills each facing page with various shades of the colour in question (lower image). To top it he made an index of all the colours he described, which in itself is a feast to look at (Pics 1 and 3). In the 17th century, an age known as the Golden Age of Dutch Painting, this manual would have hit the right spot. It makes sense, then, that the author explains in the introduction that he wrote the book for educational purposes. Remarkably, because the manual is written by hand and therefore literally one of a kind, it did not get the “reach” among painters - or attention among modern art historians - it deserves.
Full disclosure (6 May, 2014): While this colourful book is first presented to a larger audience in this post and there are no Dutch publications devoted to it, I have since posting discovered that it is known by at least one other Dutch scholar. It is currently being studied and will be included in a PhD study to be completed in 2015 at the University of Amsterdam. While it is great that blogs such as The Colossal (here) and Gizmodo (here) have picked it up, it is important to know that I was not the one “discovering” the manuscript. I merely put it on the bigger podium it deserves, via this blog.
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Chris Colfer on his book and movie, Struck by Lightning, at SiriusXM.
“I think that the things that our culture idolizes, especially in the high school world are popularity, sex, drugs, parties. I just feel like that was something I never could relate to so in my mind it’s almost like I couldn’t fit into this and any aspect of this world as I couldn’t and never saw a character or something that I identified with. And therefore you think: what’s my purpose? why am I here? I think that the major thing about wanting to create this character was to show a high school student or a genre, if you will, of a high school student who never gets looked at; the overachieving, high school student who’s overachieving in their own right yet under appreciated for it, which I was. And I just thought that showing a kid that, like you said, has that sight of seeing what is beyond this world that everyone makes to be like the absolute all… Like who you are in high school is who you are in life- honestly it’s a load of bull.” - Chris Colfer
Net neutrality is dead.
At least that’s the verdict of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which today struck down a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order from 2010 that forced Internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner Cable to abide by the principles of network neutrality. These principles broadly stipulate that ISP network management must be transparent, and that ISPs can’t engage in practices that block, stifle or discriminate against (lawful) websites or traffic types on the Internet.
That’s the bare bones story, wrapped in ugly acronyms (FCC, ISP, etc.). But why should you care that network neutrality (“net neutrality”) may be gone for good?
1. No more net neutrality means ISPs can now discriminate against content they dislike.
Everyone gets their Internet from an Internet service provider — an ISP like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast or Time Warner Cable. Under net neutrality rules, these ISPs have to treat all content you access over the Internet “roughly the same way" — they can’t speed up traffic from websites they like or delay competitor’s traffic.
Now, with net neutrality gone, ISPs can discriminate, favoring their business partners while delaying or blocking websites they don’t like. Think your cable CEO hates free online porn? Now you’ll know for sure!
2. No more net neutrality means ISPs can now force websites to PAY for faster content delivery.
You know how some sites you go to just load slower than others? Usually, that’s just because the slower site is image heavy, poorly coded, or dealing with intense server load. But with net neutrality gone, ISPs can now start charging hefty fees to websites that want quick content delivery — shifting the long load times to poorer sites that can’t pay up.
3. Destroying net neutrality is bad for small businesses.
Put together items one and two and it becomes clear — negating net neutrality is bad for small businesses. If ISPs force website owners pay for faster load times, tiny retailers and personal websites will be the ones to suffer from slower content delivery.
Alternately — or additionally — ISPs will have no reason not to favor partner sites: Time Warner Cable, for instance, might favor the website of CNN (owned by the Time Warner Corporation) over the websites of competing cable news networks MSNBC and Fox News. Still, it’s the indies again that will lose out here. While Time Warner Cable might favor CNN and Comcast MSNBC, independent news networks almost certainly won’t get special treatment from any ISPs. Expand this out to music sites, web publishing, etc., and you begin to see the problem.
In extreme cases, ISPs may hinder or block content that isn’t produced by partners —much like AT&T did when it owned the telephone networks back in the day.
4. Without net neutrality, entire types of online traffic (like Netflix) may be in jeopardy.
Netflix watchers and BitTorrent users might want to beware — soon your beloved services may not work like they used to. Now that net neutrality’s down for the count, ISPs can discriminate against entire types of traffic: For instance, an ISP could slow or block all peer-to-peer file sharing, or all online video streaming.
From an ISP’s perspective, discriminating against some traffic types makes business sense: Many ISPs are also cable television providers, which means the “cord-cutting" enabled by peer-to-peer and streaming online video isn’t good for their bottom line.
5. Without net neutrality, your ISPs can make even more money without actually improving the Internet.
Right now, America’s broadband is slow. It’s slow because ISPs can already make gobs of money by charging the rich a ton for high-quality Internet while leaving the rest of America with subpar (or no) service.
Now, with net neutrality gone, ISPs will be able to make even more money off their existing customer base. They won’t need to improve service or bring broadband to rural areas because they’ll be able to keep growing (financially, at least) by charging content providers more for faster delivery and charging customers more for faster access. In all likelihood, Tuesday’s ruling means the problems with America’s Internet will be magnified.
This FINALLY shows up on my dashboard and it only has 300 notes.
Here’s a petition on Whitehouse.gov that needs 88,000+ by the middle of February:
SIGNAL BOOST THE FUCK OUT OF THIS SHIT AND LET THEM KNOW THAT WE AIN’T HAVIN’ IT!
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A US CITIZEN TO SIGN THIS.
Why should someone outside the US care? What passes in one industrialised nation gives companies and politicians more leverage to pass similar laws in their own.
Having this sort of discrimination in the hands of companies has political consequences in addition to the ones mentioned above. Think of the influence these ISPs would have if allowed to keep these powers? Any ISP with a political bias, or influenced by a political party, would have the power to direct access to information on the internet at their will.
Guys, this is so important. If you want to continue using sites like tumblr, you need to sign this petition and call your congressman or congresswoman.