Your Bloomship

by Kieran Healy on June 16, 2011

It’s Bloomsday, or Christmas for intolerable Joyceans everywhere. The Wall Street Journal explains the literary background:

What is it about Joyce’s novel about a day in the life of a fictional Jewish mayor of Dublin, Leopold Bloom, that has inspired an international literary event cum pub crawl cum Halloween parade?

What other Interesting Facts about Ulysses have I been unaware of, I wonder? While I wait for you to enlighten me, I will perform the sacred Bloomsday ritual of genuflecting solemnly before the Poster of Great Irish Writers. You know the one—an obscure bylaw requires it hang somewhere in every Irish bar in America, and certain sorts of pub in Ireland as well. The Great Writers can be classified into various non-exclusive subgroups based on their relationship to Ireland, including “Fled”, “Driven from”, “Disgusted”, “Hated”, and “Drank half”.

Picturing and Poe’s Ligeia

by John Holbo on June 16, 2011

I’m doing some intellectual scratching about re: the nature of pictures and pictoriality. I think one of the best philosophy books on the subject is Flint Schier, <em>Deeper into Pictures</em> [amazon]. I’m not up for writing a full review, but, briefly, he advocates what is in effect a rehabilitated version of the bad old resemblance theory (the best refuted of all theories of the nature of pictures!) Here is Schier’s first draft of an account of iconicity. “A system of representation is iconic just if once someone has interpreted any arbitrary member of it, they can proceed to interpret any other member of the system, provided only that they are able to recognize the object represented.” (44) And pictures are icons, in this sense. [click to continue…]

Reasons to be cheerful, Part 2

by John Quiggin on June 16, 2011

There are plenty of reasons to be gloomy about the prospects of stabilising the global climate, but there are also some promising developments, so I’ve started a series on this topic.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but Stephen Lacey at Grist (via David Spratt on Twitter) has done much of the job for me, and better than I could have. The crucial point is that the cost of solar photovoltaic electricity has fallen dramatically and is almost certain to fall further. In particular reaching the point where it is the cheapest large-scale alternative to carbon-fuelled electricity generation, and competitive (at reasonable carbon prices and in favorable locations) with new coal-fired power.

This makes for some fundamental changes in the debate over climate change and mitigation, even as it reaffirms the central point that advocates of mitigation have made all along, namely that, with an appropriate policy response, the costs of drastic reductions in carbon emissions will be modest in relation to national or global income.

[click to continue…]