Clint Mansell/ Kronos Quartet - Lux Aeterna
Particular smells can be incredibly evocative and bring back very clear, vivid memories.
Maybe you find the smell of freshly baked apple pie is forever associated with warm memories of grandma’s kitchen. Perhaps cut grass means long school holidays and endless football kickabouts. Or maybe catching the scent of certain medicines sees you revisit a bout of childhood illness.
What’s remarkable about the power of these ‘associative memories’ – connecting sensory information and past experiences – is just how precise they are. How do we and other animals attach distinct memories to the millions of possible smells we encounter?
The best way to keep a prisoner from escaping is to make sure he never knows he’s in prison.
Russian Black Sea Fleet on a Parade by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1849
I’m up to my ears in unwritten words.
We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.
Like A Falling Apple
Formulated in 1687, Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation was a turning point in physic. While the legend of the apple falling on his head is an exaggeration of the truth, Newton did have a brilliant insight: that every object in the universe attracts every other object. The force of attraction between two objects depends on only two things: the mass of the objects, and the distance between them. So, more massive objects exert a stronger force, while more distant objects exert a weaker force. Newton was able to formulate a simple equation to describe this, pictured above: force is equal to Newton’s gravitational constant, multiplied by masses of the objects, then divided by the square of the distance between the objects. What’s remarkable is that the law truly is universal—not only can it predict how things move here on Earth, but it can also the movements of the moon, planets, stars and even galaxies millions of lightyears away. Newton believed that the movement of every object in our universe could be predicted, but we know now that while his theory generally holds true, it is not precise. Einstein’s theory of general relativity had to step in to fill the holes.
(Image Credit: The Wonders Collection)
I grew up reading a generation of American and English people like [Saul] Bellow, [John] Updike or [Martin] Amis. Everybody’s neutral unless they’re black — then you hear about it: the black man, the black woman, the black person. Of course, if you happen to be black the world doesn’t look that way to you. I just wanted to try and create perhaps a sense of alienation and otherness in this person, the white reader, to remind them that they are not neutral to other people.