Tuesday, 5 September 2017

500 and holding...

This is my 500th blog. It is not a milestone that I ever set out to reach, let alone achieve. I noticed some time ago that I was approaching this mark and as a result, I decided that it would be my last - at least, for the time being. As of today, I am putting Marginalia55 on 'hold'.

I am certainly not deleting it; I am only discontinuing my now regular pattern of posts - which follows that for the 'sixy primes', as previously explained.

So, without more ado or fanfare, that's all for the moment.

Thanks for reading. I hope something in what has gone before in the previous 499 blogs will continue to prove interesting to somebody. Hopefully, this quote applies:

"Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen."
Robert Bresson (1901-1999)

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

What this blog has been...

If I could sum up what this blog has been, it might be expressed in the following image:

This is an image of a random walk. This, one could say is very much what this blog has been.
(Animated random walks may be seen here and here.)

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Shop Window

The following is a scan of a postcard that I found in my clutter. (You can see the holes from where it has been pinned to my old office wall.) I don't know for sure, when or where I bought it but it continues to fascinate. Very few shop windows, if any, can be said to do that - and certainly not in quite this way. It is entitled 'Naturalist, rue de l'Ecole de Medecine' and was taken in 1926 by the French photographer Eugène Atget (1857-1927). (It can also be seen - in better quality - online at Wikimedia Commons and The J. Paul Getty Museum.)

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Epictetus - 29 (From the Fragments)

From: The Golden Sayings of Epictetus (translated by Hastings Crossley) - from Project Gutenberg.


Crows pick out the eyes of the dead, when the dead have no longer need of them; but flatterers mar the soul of the living, and her eyes they blind.

Give me by all means the shorter and nobler life, instead of one that is longer but of less account!

Of pleasures, those which occur most rarely give the most delight.

Exceed due measure, and the most delightful things become the least delightful.

No man is free who is not master of himself.

A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope.

Fortify thyself with contentment: that is an impregnable stronghold.

No man who is a lover of money, of pleasure, of glory, is likewise a lover of Men; but only he that is a lover of whatsoever things are fair and good.

Think of God more often than thou breathest.

Choose the life that is noblest, for custom can make it sweet to thee.

Let thy speech of God be renewed day by day, aye, rather than thy meat and drink.

Friday, 11 August 2017

I can never get enough fog

Sunny days are great but I do love foggy days. The world is less expansive, less vast. It is closer, more intimate. And perhaps more mysterious. (Without there being an intentional pun on 'mist'.)
One Saturday, a year or so ago, I awoke to find that outside there was a thick fog, so I dressed quickly and went out for a walk. I even took photographs of the fog - or rather of familar sights now rendered unfamiliar by being wrapped in a blanket of mist.

Here is one of my photographs:

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Alma Mater

In May 2017, my wife and I are going back (and by the time you read this will have been back) to our old university - Surrey - for a weekend visit when it celebrates its 50th anniversary. In one form or another, the University of Surrey has been in existence for 125 years but it is choosing to celebrate just 50 years as a fully fledged university. That is in stark contrast to another I will not name that recently celebrated 175 years in existence even though it had only been a university for 10 years!
I'm sure that we will enjoy the ocassion very much but I notice, not least from its website, how much things have changed. All UK universities have changed, although to varying degrees. I nearly didn't type 'degree' then because it sounded too much of a pun but I leave it in because the degrees on offer are now very varied in their depth and value. Many, I feel, are not worth the time, effort or debt - nor the heartache because no university education is devoid of this in some form or another. When we went to university, it was a formative experience that many no longer receive or even want! Many are at university to pick up a degree because they have been told that it is a ticket to a good job (which is becoming increasingly debatable).
This degree-ticket mentality is not helped by the modular approach to higher education that has now been widely adopted. Rack up the modules; get a degree. My undergraduate degree in Human Biology seemed very intricately woven. So much so that, given the subject matter, I feel that I am still unpicking it.

The following seems particularly relevant:

"...bits of knowledge laid end to end [do not] lead to wisdom."
Altered and attributed to Melvin Konner. I hope I have got his sentiment right - it is certainly mine.

As I write (and schedule) this, I notice that it is about this time of year that the exam results come out. Good luck.