heart attack
January 26, 2014, 5:15 pm
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , , , , , ,

In the 1950s, two researchers named Bruhn and Wolf went to the village of Roseto in eastern Pennsylvania near the New York border, to attempt to find out why the townspeople there were outliving – by a wide margin – people everywhere else in the country.  Their assumption going in had been that there were physical reasons for the longevity, like diet and health.  What they found was evidence that the reason for exceptional health was social.

Rosetto PA was settled in the 1880s by stone workers from the Italian town Rosetto Valfortore.  The settlers brought the name of their southern mountain town with them and apparently they brought a lot more than just the name.  When Bruhn and Wolf visited the town they found a very tightly knit, socially cohesive community.  They were publicly and privately social, they lived in extended families, they worshipped together, they formed multiple social organizations, and the classes mixed and were mutually supportive.   Continue reading


lexical distance
January 26, 2014, 2:16 pm
Filed under: departure lounge | Tags:

Lexical Distance Network Among the Major Languages of Europe

Some observations from someone who has read woefully little history and knows only one and a half languages. Of the European languages there are three groupings that dominate: Germanic, Slavic and Romance: the northern low landers, the easterners and the Mediterranean; and several that are secondary: Finno-Ugric, Baltic, Celtic, Greek and Albanian. The secondary languages are either old empires that didn’t gain enough geographic or cultural influence (Greek, Hungarian) or groups that were isolated or pushed back by invasion and expansion (Baltic, Celtic).

English is Germanic because of its history of low land invasion but also tied closely to French / Romance because of the Norman invasion. We trace our western history back to the Greek and Roman Empires. The Roman is represented by the Romance group, a great swath that covers much of the north shore of the Mediterranean where the Empire dominated. The Greek is isolated, because its empire is older and didn’t extend as far geographically.

From Etymologikon blog by Teresa Elms

The original research data for the chart comes from K. Tyshchenko (1999), Metatheory of Linguistics. (Published in Russian.)

contemplating the order of things

There is life and good life. ‘Life’ is infrastructural and sustaining (concerned with labour and reproduction); and ‘good life’ is flourishing – the pursuit of justice, the common good, political and moral order. Good life needs life to support it, but to merely live life and to fail to make life good is … not human, says Aristotle via Charles Taylor below.

But consider now the balance or lack thereof of what we think and talk about in our world today. Infrastructural ‘life’ talk and energy (labour and reproduction) nearly eclipses ‘good life’ discourse. The economy, your job, family dominate while … well, when is the last time you heard anyone bring up the common good? Are we living sub human lives?

Some Aristotle via Charles Taylor:

‘Ordinary life’ is a term of art I introduce to designate those aspects of human life concerned with production and reproduction, that is, labour, the making of the things needed for life, and our life as sexual beings, including marriage and the family. When Aristotle spoke of the ends of political association being “life and the good life” (zen kai euzen), this was the range of things he wanted to encompass in the first of these terms; basically they englobe what we need to do to continue and renew life.

For Aristotle the maintenance of these activities was to be distinguished from the pursuit of the good life. They are, of course, necessary to the good life, but they play an infrastructural role in relation to it. You can’t pursue the good life without pursuing life. But an existence dedicated to this latter goal alone is not a fully human one…. The proper life for humans builds on this infrastructure a series of activities which are concerned with the good life: men deliberate about moral excellence, they contemplate the order of things; of supreme importance for politics, they deliberate together about the common good, and decide how to shape and apply the laws.

Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self, pp. 211-12, from Andrew Taggart blog post Sustaining Life is not the Good Life

hipster beer choices
January 16, 2014, 5:39 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , ,

hipster beer choices:
pooch daddy saison
blue caboose barley wine
doppelganger doppelbock
arrogant bastard
pompous asshole
christian bale ale
dog’s sweat
baby dick Belgian white
hairy porter
Dr. Filsner pilsner
ark of the covenant ale

Starbucks drinks – the same story.

body atlas
January 7, 2014, 3:41 pm
Filed under: unseen world | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Happiness and depression are felt all over the body, while anger and pride only in the chest and head. These are images from research on emotion response by a group of scientists from Finland. The researchers used stimuli – words, images, stories – to provoke emotion and the subjects indicated where the emotion manifested on their bodies.

From Body Atlas, Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari, and Jari K. Hietanen

An Atlas Of The Human Body That Maps Where We Feel Emotions, Fast Company, Jessica Leber

January 6, 2014, 2:04 pm
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: