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Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Monday, October 24, 2005

Shirley Horn

Shirley Horn, one of the last great jazz divas.

Where are all the dead women? If anything spells out the necessity of feminism it's the fact that at least 90% of the obituaries in the British national press are for men!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Dang Thuy Tram's diary

"I had to do an appendix operation without enough medicine. Only a few
tubes of Novocain, but the wounded young soldier never cried out or yelled. He
continued to smile to encourage me. Looking at the forced smile on his dry lips,
knowing his fatigue, I felt so sorry for him...I lightly stroked his hair. I
would like to say to him: 'Patients like you who I cannot cure cause me the most
sorrow, and their memory will not fade.'"

The diary of a Vietnamese doctor who was killed during the Vietnam war at the age of 27 has caused a sensation. It has sold over 300, 000 copies 'generating numerous translations and a television show and sparking a wave of patriotic nostalgia among young Vietnamese.' Read more at Oh My News.

Amnesia, Roman double standards and Rubenesque violence

The moving story (oh dear that sounds like such a cliche) of a 35 year old man who found himself on a train to Coney Island with absolutely no idea who he was.

Tom Holland says that the BBC's latest series about the Romans goes OTT on the sex scenes and misses what was really interesting about Roman life.

Waldemar Januszczak sees Rubens as more than a chocolate box painter of plump ladies. He cites the considerable sexual violence in Rubens' work and describes him as 17th-century Quentin Tarantino. Do you agree?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Female obituaries

Sarah Levi-Tanai, Yemenite Israeli choreographer, composer and performer.
Mildred Shay, actress.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Napoleon and Betsy Balcombe

A delightful drama from Radio 4.
In 1815, a young English girl, Betsy Balcombe, is living with her family on the
island of St Helena . Her life is about to change, as she meets the most
dramatic, glamorous and sinister figure of the age. Julia Blackburn's Betsy and
Napoleon is a true story based on contemporary accounts.

Yorkshire Greats

Bernard Ingham on why he included only five women in his new book, Yorkshire Greats. A sweet little interview with a political dinosaur.

Inspirational women

Vivian Malone Jones died after a stroke in Atlanta at the age of 63. She came to public attention as one of two black students who enrolled at the University of Alabama in 1963.
When, in 1965, she received a degree in business management, she became the first African-American graduate in the university's 134-year history - the first black student had been Autherine Lucy, who, in 1956, sought a master's degree in library science, only to be suspended and later expelled, ostensibly for her own safety, after three days of rioting and threats.
Betty Leslie Melville devoted decades of her life to the protection of a rare species of giraffe.
At the outset of her interest in the early 1970s, there were only about 120, but they now number up to 400 in Kenya and 500 altogether, due to the efforts of her and her third husband Jock Leslie-Melville, the Kenyan grandson of a Scottish earl, who died in 1984.
Helen Cresswell, who has died aged 71, was one of Britain's most prolific children's writers, creating memorable and often funny characters in books and television dramas for more than 45 years. Cresswell was passionate about her role, insisting that children "deserve the best" in novels, and in television adaptations and series created specially for them, as well as introductions to the classics.

Recent additions to Project Gutenberg

I've just been looking at the recent addition on Project Gutenberg. It's amazing really that they are adding so much so quickly. The following texts are written by women:

Corinne or Italy by Madame de Stael (1766-1817)
Skyrider by B.M.Bower (1871-1940) (author of westerns)
The Mayor's Wife and A Strange Disappearance by Anna Katharine Green
May Brooke by Anna H.Dorsey
Greenwich Village by Anna Alice Chapin
Fanny goes to war by Pat Beauchamp

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Rivers goes nuts

Joan Rivers goes nuts.

Iceland women's strike of 1974

Fascinating stuff. It makes me want to run around outside waving my spare bra.

Carnival of the feminists

Read it here! It's very good.

Is time travel possible?

It's nerve wracking enough going to live in a foreign country without knowing what it's like. I don't understand why anyone would want to live in the future. How awful must it be to be homesick for a world that no longer exists.

However is time travel theoretically possible?

It's a question that has been seriously considered outside the realms of science fiction. This BBC article discusses one of the paradoxes of time travel. A new model using the laws of quantum physics (I don't even know what that is) suggests that it is possible to go back in time but that we can only observe events, we can't alter them. The fact of the present being the way it is means that anything you do in the past can only lead to the present state of affairs.

Michio Kaku describes the physics behind time travel here. I've never been able to get my head round the fact that time can speed up and slow down. If time were a thing like soup I could imagine it changing in consistency, but isn't time an abstract, an idea? How can it change? I really wish someone would explain that one to me. (Ah, this sort of helps.)
Einstein gave us a much more radical picture. According to Einstein, time was
more like a river, which meandered around stars and galaxies, speeding up and
slowing down as it passed around massive bodies. One second on the earth was Not
one second on Mars. Clocks scattered throughout the universe beat to their own
distant drummer.
Kaku outlines two issues that get in the way of time travel.
  1. A huge amount energy is required. 'One either has to harness the power of a star, or to find something called “exotic” matter (which falls up, rather than down) or find a source of negative energy.'
  2. In principle a worm hole can be used to connect two regions of time but there is no way of knowing if it would be stable.
Stephen Hawkings thinks that time travel may be possible but that there are huge obstacles. He discusses these issues further in this lecture. It made my head hurt reading it but it's worth a look.