VMF-422 F4U Corsair in a storm.
VMF-422 F4U Corsair in a storm.
Illustration by John Ford Clymer. Leatherneck Magazine, 1945.

Corsair pilot “Jake” Wilson recalls the Flintlock Disaster.

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 worst of our base instincts, and imperils our species’ remarkable advancements over eons of evolution. We have made astounding technological achievements. …


In Search of a Well-Informed Electorate.

Image for post
Image for post
Source

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 social media — which predisposes the modern electorate to seek information that agrees with their predispositions — many people are happy being well-informed within their own circle of biases. …


In Search of a Well-Informed Electorate.

Image for post
Image for post
Source

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 social media — which predisposes the modern electorate to seek information that agrees with their predispositions — many people are happy being well-informed within their own circle of biases. …


VMF-422 F4U Corsair in a storm.
VMF-422 F4U Corsair in a storm.
Illustration by John Ford Clymer. Leatherneck Magazine, 1945.

Corsair pilot “Jake” Wilson recalls the Flintlock Disaster

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. …


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 treatment — was based on a scene that he had witnessed at Le-Bac-du Sud on the Arras-Doullens Road in August 1918. Along the side of the road, hundreds of injured soldiers convey the devastating human toll and horrific scale of the war.” …


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

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 interested in the grand scheme of things, what made things tick. They were some of the smartest dudes around. …


(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 the carpet. I know not who this stately Mohammedan may be, nor in what mysterious domestic or religious rite she may be engaged; but in her muffled contemplation and her pearl-colored robes, under her plastered arcade, which shines in the Eastern light, she is beautiful and memorable. …


The Florida Gulf Coast in October
The Florida Gulf Coast in October
The Florida Gulf Coast in October. Daniels.

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? …

About

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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