Weekend links 729


Phosphorus and Hesperus (1881) by Evelyn De Morgan.

• Mix of the week, or possibly the entire year: The Deep Ark, 167 tracks (over 8 hours of music), most of which are from the electronic deluge of the early 1990s. The download link may not work for all browsers—it didn’t for one of mine—but it is active. Via Simon Reynolds who has more about the Deep Ark project.

• At Nautilus: Betsy Mason on the use of stage magic to investigate animal behaviour. “By performing tricks for birds, monkeys, and other creatures, researchers hope to learn how they perceive and think about their world.”

• At The Daily Heller: Mad and the Usual Gang of Idiots. Meanwhile, Mr Heller’s font of the month may prove useful for this election season, a Jonathan Barnbrook design named Moron.

Looking back, you can see a pattern in those eras in which interest in telepathy boomed. Coined by Myers and his fellow psychical researchers in the 1880s, telepathy gained traction because it was formulated inside a moment of scientific and technological revolution, where uncanny transmissions proliferated across the visible and invisible spectrum, seeming to collapse the natural and the supernatural together. In the 1970s, telepathy returned, if under different names, as part of another moment of crisis. The Cold War arms race was an essential part of this, feeding a strange supplemental world of fantasy technologies, from mind control to brainwashing, and playing on an all-too-widespread psychological paranoia around being seen, infiltrated and manipulated by invisible agents.

Roger Luckhurst looks back at a century of psychic research

• New music: Portable Reality Generator by Field Lines Cartographer, and Sublime Eternal Love by Chrystabell and David Lynch.

• Coffee and Chocolates for Two Guitars: Robert Fripp interviewing John McLaughlin in July, 1982.

• Paintings by Ithell Colquhoun currently showing at the Ben Hunter gallery, London.

• At Public Domain Review: Eye Miniatures (ca. 1790–1810).

ESP (1965) by Miles Davis | ESP (1990) by Deee-lite | ESP (2002) by Comets On Fire

Weekend links 700


Lux in Tenebris (1895) by Evelyn De Morgan.

• “NASA celebrates the worm logo designer, Richard Danne“. Until I read this story (and this one) I wasn’t aware that the NASA logos were known as The Meatball and The Worm.

The Red Shoes: behind the scenes of the classic Powell and Pressburger film – in pictures. Related: Kings of the movies: Martin Scorsese on Powell & Pressburger.

• The 700th weekend post happens to arrive on Alan Moore’s 70th birthday. Many happy returns to the Northampton Magus.

Fundamentally, we face a choice. Either:

• it’s a coincidence that, of all the possible values that the finely tuned constants of physics may have had, they just happen to have the right values for life;


• the constants have those values because they are right for life.

The former option is wildly improbable; on a conservative estimate, the odds of getting finely tuned constants by chance is less than 1 in 10-136. The latter option amounts to a belief that something at the fundamental level of reality is directed towards the emergence of life. I call this kind of fundamental goal-directedness ‘cosmic purpose’.

As a society, we’re somewhat in denial about fine-tuning, because it doesn’t fit with the picture of science we’ve got used to. It’s a bit like in the 16th century when we started getting evidence that our Earth wasn’t in the centre of the universe, and people struggled to accept it because it didn’t fit with the picture of the universe they’d got used to. Nowadays, we scoff at our ancestors’ inability to follow the evidence where it leads. But every generation absorbs a worldview it can’t see beyond. I believe we’re in a similar situation now with respect to the mounting evidence for cosmic purpose. We’re ignoring what is lying in plain view because it doesn’t fit with the version of reality we’ve got used to. Future generations will mock us for our intransigence.

Philip Goff, professor in philosophy at Durham University, making an argument for cosmic purpose

• At Spoon & Tamago: Exploring Japanese Hell through art from the 12th to 19th century.

• New music: Turning The Prism by Ben Frost, and Sanctuary Of Desire by Steve Roach.

• Mix of the week is DreamScenes – November 2023 at Ambientblog.

• DJ Food looks at Tomi Ungerer’s Electric Circus posters.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Alain Resnais Day.

Strange Flowers visits the Villa Stuck.

Diet Of Worms (1979) by This Heat | Opera Of Worms (1981) by Van Kaye & Ignit| Wormhole (2002) by Cliff Martinez