A well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy — Thomas Jefferson.
Thomas Jefferson was an idealist. “That people should govern themselves . . . ” — it had never been done before. But he was also practical. He believed the representative democracy experiment would work, but only with a “well-informed electorate.”
A well-informed electorate? In Jefferson’s day most Americans couldn’t read or write, newspapers held little value for them. Only fairly literate landowners possessed the right to vote.
Jefferson’s “well-informed electorate” might’ve been clear and concise in his time but it’s well worth redefining. In our 21st century age of…
Hawkins Field, Tarawa Atoll. January 25, 1944.
Twenty-four brand new Vought F4U Corsairs were readying for takeoff. It was expected to be a straightforward operation, a “milk run” to relocate the entire squadron in readiness for Operation Flintlock — an offensive to be launched against the Japanese. What happened that day, however, was anything but straightforward, and would go down in history as the greatest Naval Aviation disaster of WWII.
Squadron leader John MacLaughlin reportedly asked his superior for a navigational lead plane, standard procedure, but was denied. …
Come on a journey with me. Suspend your traditional notions of cause and effect. I will reveal the one cause of a billion negative effects. The idea is not my own. Its truth is not new. In fact, it is very old — to be found under stones left unturned, in quiet places, away from the hustle and bustle, in niches and nooks where truth can hide.
Most of the suffering of mankind stems from the delusion that we are separate, independent beings, alienated from each other. Believing this is so makes us fearful, contentious animals, summons the…
A New Orleans native, Virginie Amélie Avegno’s odd beauty and natural grace attracted attention in 19th century Paris. In her, J.S. Sargent found his muse — a socialite, named, Madame Gautreau. Sargent wrote to his friend, Vernon Lee, “In a few days I shall be tackling the portrait of a great beauty … she has the most beautiful lines.”
Gautreau was many things to Sargent. Key among them was what she represented: an archetype of the modern female, a representation of the changing times — a Madame ***
He painted her, as he saw her.
John Singer Sargent was 62 when he went to paint what was to be called, “The Great War”.
“Best known for his bravura society portraits and dazzling, sun-filled watercolors, the cosmopolitan American painter John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) might seem an unlikely candidate to document the Great War.”
In truth, Sargent was sent to “commemorate the joint efforts of American and British troops for a proposed Hall of Remembrance. He ultimately abandoned his assigned theme, choosing instead to depict the impact of modern chemical warfare.”
“Gassed (below) — an epic, frieze-like composition depicting soldiers blinded by mustard gas being led to…
Philosophers and Physicists
When I first heard of Dark Matter I thought, this must be a joke … those physicists are at it again, conjuring up more fantastic tales. Turns out, it’s no joke, though it may contain approximately 90% humor.
I had some physics in college, not Physics Major physics, just the run-of-the-mill, chem-major variety. But I always admired the physics guys, and loved talking to them. They would hang out in the lounge next to my physical chemistry class.
They were all philosophers — could’ve been philosophy majors, but they chose physics — because they were…
What an enchanting image. What’s going on here? Some provenance: J. S. Sargent was 24 years old when he traveled to Africa. He finished this one in Paris from memories and sketches he’d made while in Morocco.
Sargent’s friend and fellow émigré, Henry James, said of it, “[She] stands on a rug, under a great white Moorish arch, and from out of the shadows of the large drapery, raised pentwise by her hands, which covers her head, looks down, with painted eyes and brows showing above a bandaged mouth, at the fumes of a beautiful censer or chafing-dish placed on…
— Julian Assange
I was 12 years old when I caught my first glimpse of politics. My family was headed to the Virgin Islands and I was inspecting the wonders of our ship. One of the stewards informed me that I could walk through the ship’s bar but couldn’t stop for a drink, as I was underage and not privy to such amusements. During one of my walk-throughs I glanced at a TV hanging from the ceiling to see Richard Nixon say he was resigning his presidency.
I asked my dad what had happened to make our president quit. His…
This piece is devoted to things of a slower nature — a less frenetic pace, analogue speed — as opposed to keeping up with the plethora of new, digital interfaces when I’ve yet to master the analogue ones I was born with.
Engineers say that, for all our amazing technological achievements, we’ve only just begun. It’s hard–and a bit tedious–to critique these breathtaking advancements; they’re coming so fast and furious who has the time to stop and think? …
artist / scientist with a penchant for words. it took a long time to begin to see through my own eyes — longer still to imagine a reason to try+