Illustration by John Ford Clymer for Leatherneck Magazine. 1945. Corsair flying over a church steeple through a cyclone.
Illustration by John Ford Clymer for Leatherneck Magazine. 1945. Corsair flying over a church steeple through a cyclone.
Illustration by John Ford Clymer for Leatherneck Magazine. 1945

Corsair pilot “Jake” Wilson recalls the Flintlock Disaster.

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. …


Seated Buddha
Seated Buddha
Photo by Mattia Faloretti

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.

The Premise

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…


John Singer Sargent and Virginie Amélie Avegno

Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), John Singer Sargent, 1884. [Detail]
Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), John Singer Sargent, 1884. [Detail]
Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), John Singer Sargent, 1884. [Detail]

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.


Soldiers after mustard gas attack. WWI.
Soldiers after mustard gas attack. WWI.
Gassed. 1919. [Detail] Imperial War Museum.

In 1918, one of the greatest painters of the Western World was dispatched to the Western Front to gather some artistic impressions of Western Civilization gone mad.

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…


At the atomic scale, what is done to the least of us is done to all of us.

Dark Matter Vortices Used with permission of the Artist: Markos Kay
Dark Matter Vortices Used with permission of the Artist: Markos Kay
Dark Matter Vortices Used with permission of the Artist: Markos Kay

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.

The Physicist

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…


(Smoke of Ambergris)

John Singer Sargent’s Alchemy of Color.

John Singer Sargent. Fumée d’Ambre Gris (Smoke of Ambergris), 1880. Oil on canvas.
John Singer Sargent. Fumée d’Ambre Gris (Smoke of Ambergris), 1880. Oil on canvas.
John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925), Fumée d’Ambre Gris (Smoke of Ambergris), 1880. Oil on canvas, 139.1 x 90.6 cm. Acquired by Sterling Clark, 1914. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts (1955.15)

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…


Harry Clarke’s Illustration for Goethe’s Faust
Harry Clarke’s Illustration for Goethe’s Faust
Harry Clarke’s illustration for Faust by Johann von Goethe (1925), his own likeness used for the face of Faust. Public Domain Review

“General principle: Transparency for the powerful, privacy for the rest of us.”

— 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…


The Florida Gulf Coast in October

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? …


The men who saved the world.

Man. Used with permission of the artist: Markos Kay.

The Cons of Conservation

Conservation has been the mantra of recent years. The less we use of a resource, the better. Common sense, really. Or, is it?

‘Be efficient, it’s a good thing’. There are limited resources on our planet, so shouldn’t we conserve? According to William McDonough, philosopher / architect and co-author of “The Next Industrial Revolution”, this conservation narrative is a recipe for disaster — a collection of superficial myths that will eventually inspire us to ruin our planet.

Albert Einstein:

“The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that…

Mac Daniels

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+

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