Lucilla Yu Ming and Grace Chang in Hong Kong 1961 film, Sun, Moon and Star
Obama awarding the late Sally Ride’s Medal of Freedom to her life partner Tam O’Shaughnessy
As for the “solitary confinement of the mind,” my theory is that solipsism, like other absurdities of the professional philosopher, is a product of too much time wasted in library stacks between the covers of a book, in smoke-filled coffeehouses (bad for the brains) and conversation-clogged seminars. To refute the solipsist or the metaphysical idealist all you have to do is take him out and throw a rock at his head: if he ducks he’s a liar. His logic may be airtight but his argument, far from revealing the delusions of living experience, only exposes the limitations of logic.
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire.
Pablo Picasso hidden portrait found beneath famous painting ‘The Blue Room’
A hidden portrait has been unearthed beneath Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece “The Blue Room”.
Art experts using infrared technology on the painting revealed a man wearing a jacket, bow tie and rings and resting his bearded face on his hand.
Scientists have confirmed that the artwork was created just before “The Blue Room” during the Spanish painter’s early 1900s ‘blue period’, in which he focused on monochromatic paintings in blue shades.
“It was one of those moments that really makes what you do special,” said Patricia Favero, conservator at the Phillips Collection.
It remains unknown who the mystery man in the ‘lost’ painting is but specialists are “still working on answering that question”. The possibility of a self-portrait has been ruled out, with Paris art dealer Ambrose Villard one contender.
This hidden portrait has been revealed beneath ‘The Blue Room’
The existence of another painting below the surface of “The Blue Room” was first suspected in 1954 when conservators noticed that brushstrokes did not match the composition.
A “fuzzy image” was revealed in the 1990s and details became clearer with advanced technology in 2008, when the painting of a woman bathing in Picasso’s studio was turned on its side.
Research is continuing with the aim of identifying the colours of the portrait and recreating a digital image of it.
Experts are unsurprised that Picasso re-used his canvas. Curator Susan Behrends Frank told AP that the artist “could not afford to acquire new canvasses every time he had an idea that he wanted to pursue”.
Conservator Patricia Favero analyses Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Blue Room’
“He worked sometimes on cardboard because canvas as so much more expensive,” she said. “When he had an idea, you know, he just had to get it down and realise it.”
Hidden paintings have been found under Picasso’s work before. An analysis of “La Vie” proved that Picasso had re-working the image and a moustached man was discovered under “Woman Ironing”.
Eartha Kitt performing Just an Old Fashioned Girl (1962)
Simply mind-blowing stuff right here. This image shows the galaxy cluster Abell 1689, with the mass distribution of the dark matter in the gravitational lens overlaid (in purple). The mass in this lens is made up partly of what we know as normal matter and partly of dark matter. Distorted galaxies are clearly visible around the edges of the gravitational lens. The appearance of these distorted galaxies depends on the distribution of matter in the lens and on the relative geometry of the lens and the distant galaxies, as well as on the effect of dark energy on the geometry of the Universe.
Abell 1689 is a galaxy cluster in the constellation Virgo nearly 2.2 billion light years away. It is one of the biggest and most massive galaxy clusters known.
(Image credit: NASA, ESA, E. Jullo (JPL/LAM), P. Natarajan (Yale) and J-P. Kneib (LAM)
It’s About Time, An Interview with Physicist Lee Smolin
Right, scientists have declared philosophy dead in a number of recent books. Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design, co-written with Leonard Mlodinow, was especially funny, since the opening basically says there’s no need for metaphysics—but then the rest of the book is metaphysics.
I thought that was so embarrassing. Or Lawrence Krauss—he is a brilliant and articulate and highly effective advocate for science—and I am usually on his side, but in this one case he got in over his head and claimed that inflationary cosmology solved the problem of why there is something rather than nothing. David Albert did a review of Lawrence’s book, and I remember thinking, “This is the most cutting and acerbic review of anything I’ve ever read.” But he was right. He took Lawrence to task for being ignorant of what philosophers were trying to understand.
I did my undergrad degree at Hampshire, and it was partly physics and partly philosophy. We called it natural philosophy. I went to graduate school in physics intending to do a degree in philosophy but was very turned off by the philosophers I met. Meanwhile, the philosophers of physics of my generation, people like David Albert, Simon Saunders and Harvey Brown, are much more knowledgeable about the technical details of physics. They know physics very well, and they are very sophisticated about contemporary physics.